|Jobs for Africa - Towards a Programme of Action - Report of the ILO/UNDP Programme on Employment Generation and Poverty Reduction (ILO - UNDP, 1997, 107 p.)|
|Chapter 1: Capacity building at the national level|
7 The complete project document for this component is annexed to this Programme of Action.
The process of macroeconomic reforms has to be deepened beyond present structural adjustment and stabilization programmes, in particular by launching investment-led growth strategies that maximize employment and reduce poverty if Africa is to avoid continued marginalization.
Although African governments and Regional organisations have been sensitized during the last decade on the employment crisis, national capacities and machinery for tackling the employment problems have remained largely defective and inadequate to meet the increasing demands of the worsening employment crisis. More specifically, the relevant ministries suffer from lack of the required expertise in many essential disciplines, such as labour economics, statistics, and employment data collection and analysis. In addition, little attention has been paid to utilizing available national capacities in existing national research, consultancy, and training institutions, that could be involved in employment policy and programmes formulation and implementation, and to assist them become more active policy advisers in this field. Some of these institutions are handicapped in both quantity and quality of their output due to a variety of reasons including shortage of financial resources, staff with relevant experience and training, limited accessibility to vital information (activities to redress this crucial issue are described in section 2.2.3.), lack of exposure and interaction with others in similar situations at home and abroad.
The reversal must be sought of the present sub-Saharan African situation largely characterized by public investments concentrated in expensive capital intensive projects that employ little labour and have negligible direct impact on reducing poverty. This can be achieved by building African capacity at the regional, national and local levels to design and to implement investment-led strategies of development that define the primary task for macroeconomic policy to be increasing investment and improving its efficiency. A priority task in developing poverty reducing employment policies is to advocate ways in which public investments can be restructured to impact more positively on productive and high quality employment.
To achieve this, it is necessary to build the national and regional capacity to design and adopt poverty reducing employment strategies based on investment led macro-economic policies that are explicitly targeted towards the poorest segments of the population and that are coherent at the micro-, mezzo-, and macro levels.
This, in turn, requires an action programme that develops the capacity of:
· national and regional institutions and networks to assess, design, and advocate alternative policies for poverty reducing employment strategies.
· governments to re-orient strategies and programmes for poverty reducing employment strategies.
· national partners to design and implement coherent poverty reducing employment programmes at the micro-, mezzo-, and macro levels; and that identifies, documents and spreads the most important knowledge gained during the implementation of national employment generating activities.
The creation of a regional and national employment capacity building networks will address these issues through the pooling of local resources that will be better equipped to address the daunting problem of unemployment in the countries and by providing advocacy for employment generating and, thus, poverty reducing investment policies.
The Regional Capacity Building Network programme will consist of the following four main activities:
a) Establishment of national networks and their coordination within the African Regional Network;
b) Policy oriented regional investigative studies conducted through network members;
c) Training programme and exchange of experiences among networks members; and
d) Documentation services, and exchange principally, though not exclusively for network members.
The regional network services, information linkages and exchange between network members and the relevant international institutions should be provided by a regional project based in the ILO, and should include technical backstopping for the execution and implementation of national network activities, as well as providing regional documentation services.
The principal function of the national network at the initial stage, will be the preparation of an assessment of the employment effects of current national growth and public investment policies. The assessment, which could be titled a Report on Investment for Poverty Reducing Employment (IPRE), will seek to provide a well - publicized assessment of public and private investment, and to propose new directions for raising investment and improving its allocation towards poverty reducing employment. The secondary thrust of the report is a critique of the macro-economic policies such as right monetary policies and restrictive fiscal policies - that raise interest rates, curtail credit and cut public investment. The report should not attempt to duplicate the reports of the World Bank in helping the government formulate a public investment programme (PIP) but focus on policies and programmes that promote employment and, through it, achieve poverty reduction.
The investigative work of the network is narrowed to action oriented research relevant to poverty reducing employment promotion through investment, the management of employment initiatives, and effective ways of monitoring and evaluating the impact of investment policies.
Given the project's focus on investment, the activities that should be implemented at the local level should be limited to (a) public investment projects that directly promote poverty reducing employment in such areas as agriculture and rural development (e.g., rural feeder roads, small irrigation works, reforestation using labour intensive techniques), micro and small enterprise development, and urban-based labour intensive projects (see section 2.2.4., for details on interventions in this field); (b) indirectly stimulate private investment and poverty reducing employment (innovative activities in this field are described in section 2.2.7.,); and (c) activities to increase the productivity and livelihoods of target poor populations (e.g., women, youth, the disabled, retrenched workers, etc.) and districts (section 2.2.5., deals with specific activities in this field). Training (managerial and vocational) (section 2.2.1.), financial services (sub-section 2.2.2. ii) and participatory techniques are common tools in the implementation of the above activities. Wherever feasible, practical experiences from other ILO national or regional programmes in the aforementioned activities will be brought to the attention of the national networks and concerned officials. Technical workshops to identify common practices, the requirements to ensure positive impact, and pitfalls to avoid could be organised to enhance the local capacity.