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By Charndré Emma Kippie

 

The African Union Commission 

Africa’s framework for transforming the continent into the ‘global powerhouse of the future’, Agenda 2063, is a strategic master plan geared towards delivering on Africa’s goal for inclusive and sustainable development. This blueprint is a formal manifestation of the ‘pan-African drive for unity, self-determination, freedom, progress and collective prosperity pursued under Pan-Africanism and African Renaissance’.

The conception of Agenda 2063 was the led by African leaders who believed that a shift in focus needed to occur; a shift from the struggle against apartheid and the attainment of political independence to:

  • Prioritising inclusive social and economic development
  • Fostering continental and regional integration
  • Creating democratic governance and peace
  • Ensuring security for all 

The vision for Africa’s future, laid out across a 50 year period from 2013 to 2063, was documented in a letter presented by the former Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Dr. Nkosazana Dlaminin Zuma.

 

International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour

Most recently, The African Union (AU), in partnership with the International Labour Organisation (ILO), has launched the International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour in Africa. The launch was acknowledged with a three-hour virtual event which took place on Wednesday, 31 March 2021. 

This virtual launch created a platform for African and multi-stakeholders to engage in conversations surrounding growth and existing issues in the continents fight against child labour. This event facilitated the transition from a commitment to action towards the achievement of the African Union Agenda 2063, as well as Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Target 8.7.

As the event proceeded, all partners dedicated to combating child labour talked thorugh their individual interventions and goals, each stipulating how they hope to positively contribute to the execution of measures set out by the African Union (AU). In a collaborative effort, each partner made their 2021 Action Pledges. 

“The African Union’s Ten Year Plan of Action is ambitious and achievable. Over 10 years (2020-2030), we will all work together to protect the rights of all, including children involved in child labour. It is up to us to build the future of our continent”, said the Commissioner for Health, Humanitarian Affairs and Social Development, H.E. Amira El Fadil.

 

What the statistics show 

Studies show that one in five African children were working in 2016 – a trend that still continues today. With the devastating effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, the continent witnessed more children forced into child labour. In fact, it has been estimated that just a 1% point increase in poverty will cause a rise of at least 0.7 percentage points in child labour. These circumstances pose a major concern to families, employers and workers across Africa.

“We must protect children’s rights and encourage their return to school. The African Union’s 10-year plan of action must be implemented at all levels to foster the continent’s development and protect children’s rights”, commented Guy Ryder, ILO Director-General.

At the live event, panellists zoomed in on the vast scope of the problem in Africa and discussed many underpinning issues surrounding access to quality education for all, fostering social protection, creating decent work opportunities for adults, and raising awareness.

 

Putting plans in place 

Ms Cynthia Samuel-Olonjuwon, ILO Assistant Director-General and Regional Director for Africa, made valid points regarding the collaboration between African Union (AU) and International Labour Organisation (ILO) partners, stating: “This should not be seen as a cost. It is an investment. An investment in creating a better future for all.”

Partners, investors and individuals at regional, national and organisational levels, have been inspired to pledge their commitment to cause by pin pointing tangible actions they will take by December 2021 in order to assist in ending child labour. 

The final date for the submission of all pledges is 15 May 2021. As part of the 2021 campaign, key players have been invited to document breakthroughs and goals achieved throughout the year, using video recordings, interviews, and blog posts and impactful storytelling.

As part of the next steps, the Minister of Labour of the Republic of South Africa, H.E. Thembelani Thulas Nxesi, announced that the 2022 Global Conference on Child Labour will be held in Africa for the first time, and hosted by South Africa.

 

Flagship Projects

The Flagship projects include, amongst others infrastructure, education, science, technology, arts and culture, as well as initiatives to secure peace on the continent. The Flagship projects of Agenda 2063 focus on the following:

  • Integrated High Speed Train Network
  • Formulation of an African Commodities Strategy
  • Establishment of The African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA)
  • The African Passport and Free Movement of People
  • Silencing The Guns By 2020
  • Implementation Of The Grand Inga Dam Project
  • Establishment of a Single African Air-transport Market (SAATM)
  • Establishment of an Annual African Economic Forum
  • Establishment of The African Financial Institutions
  • The Pan-African E-network
  • Africa Outer Space Strategy
  • An African Virtual And E-university
  • Cyber Security
  • Great African Museum
  • Encyclopaedia Africana

 

Find more information about the Ten Year Action Plan on Eradication of Child Labour, Forced Labour, Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery in Africa (2020-2030), see Agenda 2063-SDG Target 8.7 here