The minister for gender, labor and socal development Betty Amongi Ongom Akena has called for critical review of sectors that have badly been hit by COVID-19 pandemic. Amongi says this would enable African governments devise means of how African economies can realise post COVID-19 recovery through focusing on social development, labor and employment.
She says unless African governments push harder to establish safety nets in form of social protection, social security and stimulus economic packages, to build resilience through establishing cushioning mechanisms, the lockdown will badly bruise the African economies.
Amongi noted that the most sector to be affected is the African’s large informal sector.
“Unless reviewed and remedied, this sector will suffer significant job losses in specific sectors like tourism, the creatives, and hospitality due to inherent fragility. Further more, both exports and imports will decline, affecting the potential of trade to support the growth process, thus affecting the African Continent Free Trade Area” she said, adding that already, the continent is struggling with under and unemployment.
“It is clear that if we do not undertake the above interventions to address the identifed challenges, there’s a likelihood of increased crime rates, insecurity and Instability on the continent. There’s need for dialogue at all levels as a key tool for developing and implementing sustainable solutions that are tailormade to the unique realities of the domains of social development, labor and employment” she said.
The minister made the remarks while addressing the 4th Ordinary Session of the African Union’s Specialized Committee on Social Development, Labor and Employment in Addis Ababa on Thursday this week.
In that meeting, Amongi on behalf of Uganda assumed leadership of this very important committee.
This position raises Uganda’s profile on the Continent and makes it the in charge of Social affairs in the AU.
The committee reports directly to the AU Executive Council. It is charged with promoting and developing cooperation amongst member countries in the field of social protection, labor, employment, productivity and poverty alleviation.
It also reviews and harmonizes member states’ policies and legislation and cordinates Common African Position to advance African interests, promote tripartism and freedom of association, collective bargaining and decent work.
This meeting was conducted under the theme: ‘Building Forward Better Wellbeing and Living Standards in Africa’