|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 2: Technical assistance for the generation of employment and reduction of poverty|
|2.2 Technical Assistance at the National Level|
The key to structural alleviation of poverty and to social progress is to promote employment-intensive growth and to bring employment concerns into the mainstream economic development and investment policies. Undertaken in collaboration with its tripartite Constituents (governments, employers' and workers' organisations), and through its extensive research, policy advisory work and technical cooperation programme, the ILO has developed an approach based on job creation, social protection and the promotion of labour standards.
EIP's strategy is based on bringing employment concerns into mainstream economic development and investment policies through the productive use of the poor's most abundant assets - labour, and the improvement of their access to basic social services and productive resources. Since investments in infrastructure and construction represent a large share of total public investment in developing countries (typically from 40 to 70%), they can be privileged means to directly create a large number of jobs for the poor, while important multiplier effects will generate additional employment opportunities for the local rural and urban economy and the domestic private sector.
Guidelines and tools are required to plan ahead the integration of employment considerations into these programmes. Furthermore, there is also a need for planners and practitioners to systematically examine new investment programmes in terms of employment, to adopt and apply methodologies that will lead to an in-depth knowledge of the effect on employment of new programmes.
The objectives of the programme aim at influencing policies to:
· create employment and improve working conditions;
· provide social and productive assets including the protection of environment;
· stimulate the emergence of the domestic construction industry and the gradual integration of local enterprises at the border of the informal/formal sector.
A wide variety of infrastructure programmes should be subject to these policies; they include:
a) single-sectoral infrastructure programmes (e.g. rural road construction and maintenance, irrigation, etc.);
b) multi-sectoral infrastructure programmes (integrated development programmes, social funds), focussing on the needs of local communities in rural and urban areas:
· decentralized rural works programmes, focussing on needs of local communities comprising productive and social infrastructure (rural water supply and sanitation, health centres, schools, small-scale irrigation, rural transport, soil and water conservation, afforestation);
· urban works programmes in slums, informal and peri-urban settlements (water supply and sanitation, drainage and sewerage systems, solid waste disposal, streets and footpaths, housing, local markets);
c) special emergency programmes launched to assist in the recovering of people affected by natural cataclysms (droughts, flooding etc.) and man-made disasters (civil war etc.). This encompasses cooperation with food-for-work programmes in food-deficit countries and inflationary economies.
In order to accomplish these objectives the following must be achieved:
· Reinforce the capacities of the public sector, at ministerial and decentralized level, in order to conceive, plan and manage the launching of employment-intensive infrastructure investment programmes using local resources which in addition favour the creation of small enterprises in rural and urban areas;
· Reinforce the capacities of the private sector to conceive and operate infrastructure and building works using employment based technologies and local materials;
· Increase the share of employment intensive infrastructure works in the overall investments in the country and improve the quality of the works;
· Improve the infrastructure sector's working conditions.
The ultimate target group of EIP are the un- and underemployed as well as the urban and rural poor. However, the programme will benefit all ILO constituents and thus the donor community as well. It will bring advantages to:
· employers: access to public markets; transparent bidding process; cost of social improvements covered in the bid; effective payment systems; opportunity to create/expand employers' associations;
· workers: job creation; improved working conditions; opportunity to create/expand and empower workers' associations;
· governments and donors: better fulfilment of employment and poverty objectives; higher incomes and standards of living; improved income distribution; improved balance of payments; domestic market development, e.g. through inter-sectoral linkages; a strengthened construction sector; more value for donor's/government's investment funds; improved governance and credibility;.
· labour ministries: concrete basis to collaborate with influential technical line ministries; a policy tool to introduce social objectives into economic (investment) policies; strengthening of tripartite social dialogue.
EIP will promote the establishment of national employment and investment policy units to strengthen and coordinate investment and employment policies, which:
· improve contractual procedures, collective bargaining arrangements, contracting systems, as well as local governance,
· promote cooperation between ministries, decentralized governmental structures, the private sector, the social partners, the donor community, etc.
These national policy units should:
a) influence both sectoral and area-based multi-sectoral investments so as to optimize their impact on employment and income generation through:
· raising the awareness of decision-makers at country level and at donor level in the promotion of employment strategies in labour-intensive-based rural and urban infrastructural programmes;
· providing programme planners and designers with the necessary tools and training to appraise programme proposals in terms of employment and poverty alleviation;
b) facilitate employment-intensive infrastructure programme implementation through:
· promoting the development, of the local construction industry by creating fair conditions and simplified contractual procedures for local entrepreneurs to compete for public and private works;
· enhancing the capacity of the private sector (small contractors, consulting engineers) through practical training in management and in several technical areas;
· providing decentralized institutions with planning tools, guidelines and training to strengthen their technical and managerial capacity;
c) adjust, on a continuous basis, policies and project implementation arrangements to the changing socio-economic and political environment through:
· monitoring and evaluating ongoing programmes to improve procedures, targeting, training, remuneration policies etc.;
· undertaking of comparative studies to adjust and refine the objectives of employment-intensive programmes at national and regional level.
d) stimulate labour and employment ministries to promote fair employment conditions for labourers in employment-intensive programmes, particularly for casual labour:
· elaborating practical guidelines on the application of at least minimum levels of relevant labour legislation (minimum wages, protection of workers etc.);
· assisting labour administrations to implement these guidelines constructively.
e) promote the orientation of education towards the use of local resources:
· integrating the concept of local resources in the curricula and training programmes of students at technical institutes and universities;
· provide start-up assistance to young professionals to facilitate their integration in the labour market (internships, employment subsidies, etc.);
The EIP activities would support the establishment and operation of those policy units through:
· missions to assist governments to develop employment-intensive investment policies;
· advisory missions to set up national employment and investment policy units;
· missions to advise governments and policy units on national sensitization workshops;
· development of methodologies to estimate employment generation and use of local resources of projects and develop criteria to orient them towards employment programmes
To implement the above strategy, which consists to a large degree of policy advice at up-front level and practical support at implementation level, an increased use will have to be made of regional institutions and programmes promoting this approach.
Multidisciplinary teams, which can provide policy and technical support services, have been set up by the ILO in Abidjan, Addis Ababa, Cairo, Dakar and Harare, with an additional Team planned for Yaounde from 1998. For the road sector, additional support is provided by ASIST, a project based in Harare and funded by the Government of Norway, SIDA and the Swiss Development Corporation. It provides advisory support to labour-based road projects in English-speaking countries in East-and South-African countries. Moreover, it provides information and training to other African countries. A similar project to assist Social Funds and other labour-based programmes in French-speaking West-African countries has been formulated with AFRICATIP, the regional association of AGETIPs, for which additional funding is required. Courses in the technical and social aspects of employment-intensive technologies are being integrated in E.I.E.R and E.T.S.H.E.R., two training institutes based in Ouagadougou for engineers and senior technicians.