A boy-child working on a mining site
The Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS says it will adopt an Action Plan on the Elimination of Child and Forced Labour (2021-2030) and also approve the extension of the implementation of the Commission’s Decent Work Regional Program, EDWRP to 2026.
The decision was reached at a meeting of the ECOWAS Ministers in Charge of Labour and Employment Relations’ hybrid chaired by the Minister of Public Administration, Employment, Labour and Social Security of the Republic of Guinea Bissau, Mr Cirilo Djalo.
In a statement, ECOWAS Commissioner of Human Development and Social Affairs, Prof Fatou Sow Sarr, says that child labour and promoting decent work are important in view of the high unemployment rates, high levels of informality, continuous growth in precarious jobs, especially among the self-employed in the informal sector in the region.
The Minister of Public Administration, Employment, Labour and Social Security of the Republic of Guinea Bissau, Mr Cirilo Djalo, emphasized that available data indicates that the lives and development of millions of children in West Africa is at risk as nearly one in four children in Sub-Saharan Africa is exposed to child labour.
Mr Djalo expressed optimism that the five priority areas outlined in the ECOWAS Regional Action Plan on the Elimination of Child Labour and Forced Labour (2021– 2030) are achievable because they are aligned to the goals of the SDGs and the AU Agenda 2063, to which all ECOWAS Member states are already committed to implementing.
Writing by Hamza Alkali; Editing by Oluwaseyi Ajibade & Adeniyi Bakare