|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|
It is proposed to launch an integrated programme for job creation and poverty reduction tailored to the specific conditions of each country. The following are the main ingredients of such a programme:
In order to make human resource development more responsive to their economic and social needs, African countries face the formidable task of reforming their vocational education and training (VET) systems. The Jobs for Africa Policy Framework for an Employment-Intensive Growth Strategy outlines the essential elements of a programme to reform VET systems in the region. It underlines the fact that countries in sub-Saharan Africa will need to continuously up-grade the skills of the labour force, to respond successfully to the challenges brought about by structural change, economic liberalisation and an increasingly integrated and global economy.
Economic hardship and structural adjustment programmes have frequently compromised the ability of many governments in the region to finance and provide education and training commensurate with rapidly evolving training needs and priorities. In this rapidly changing environment, governments cannot act independently. The private sector, governments, labour and, in general, civil society must develop a common vision of the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead, and engage in social dialogue both to develop training policies, and to reform existing delivery systems. A reform of curricula is long overdue. The aim should be to introduce modular curricula that ensure the achievement of work competencies in skills according to precise objectives. Any policies and programmes to broaden the sources of finance for Vocational and Entrepreneurship Training must depart from the premise that those who are potential new (and old) contributors are also integral partners in the process of defining and implementing policies. Finally, training programmes for people working in the informal sector can significantly improve productivity and income generation. Formal vocational education and training institutions have in some cases been able to redirect their objectives and curricula so that they correspond to the skill needs in farming as well as in informal manufacturing and services. An integral element of such a redirection is careful analysis of existing market opportunities in the local area and training in multiple skills needed for market access. Expanding and strengthening informal apprenticeship must also be explored.
Experience from South Africa, Zambia, and most recently Malawi suggest that a momentum can be created to carry out fundamental reforms of training systems, provided that donor backing is secured. ILOs long experience in promoting social dialogue provide an excellent opportunity to engage in a tripartite dialogue, and to develop action programmes on training in selected countries.
An action programme must, in the first pace, bring together the social partners in selected African countries. Social partners should be understood in a broad sense and should include, in addition to the ILOs traditional tripartite constituency, other stakeholders in training, such as autonomous training agencies and institutions, NGOs, industry associations, chambers of industry and commerce, and informal sector associations. To strengthen the capacity of the aforementioned actors to develop training policies the following activities could be undertaken:
a) identification of training and human resources development activities that enhance the employment effects of public investment projects;
b) development of tools to identify target groups which could benefit from training interventions in support of employment oriented investment programmes and projects;
c) assessment of the capacity of national and local training institutions and non-formal training providers to implement the training interventions.
A national Plan of Action, based on this training capacity analysis, can then be prepared to rehabilitate, strengthen or expand existing institutions (and/or possibly create new ones) and support non-formal training suppliers to implement a human resource development strategy. These interventions are not exhaustive, and they should not be seen either as ad-hoc activities for any one particular project, but must constitute an integral part of the training policy and system reform process which will include strengthening, both the training providers and also the training support infrastructure. This infrastructure includes the institutions and organisations that undertake employment and training needs and capacity analysis, identify target groups, diversify and devise alternative financing mechanisms for training, and ensure a more representative governance structure of training, among other activities.
Finally, The lack of adequate basic education and technical skills, and managerial competence in such areas as bookkeeping accounting and the like, are widely recognized as serious constraints to raising employment and productivity in the informal economy. ILO training packages such as community based training, skills development for self-reliance, and Improve Your Business (IYB) can be used to improve the technical skills and managerial knowledge base in the informal economy. The introduction of business education into the curricula of vocational training institutions, and the expansion of the scope of basic education including functional adult literacy programmes should increase productivity in the informal economy.
In Africa, unemployment, under-employment, international competition and failed development initiatives have heightened the importance of entrepreneurship and small enterprise development. Decentralised decision making has increased the need for endogenous development, controlled development from within which focuses on local resources, institutions and economic activities. Controlled development from within increases the importance of small firms as generators of employment. Thus small enterprises, local communities and their surrounding regions are key units of development and job creation.
Local Economic Development (LED) Approach
Taking into consideration the full advantage of existing assets and the potential for economic development potential in a given area, the promotion of SME constitutes a means of generating employment. This, however, has to be done in a balanced and comprehensive way, following the logic of the market and according to common guidelines and recommendations for local and regional development.
The main elements of the LED Methodology are:
· consensus building;
· bottom-up approach;
· human and institutional capacity building;
· search for synergy and catalyst effects;
· globalisation of the local level; and
· public awareness raising.
True to the LED methodology, 'Consensus Building' has to be done through an active participation of the relevant socio-economic and political actors at the local level. This means that a process which unites and creates collaborative linkages amongst local actors across political and cultural differences has to be created, ensuring a constructive exchange of ideas and opinions aiming at designing policies for sustainable development of the project area.
The 'bottom-up' approach mobilises to the utmost the local human potential making them part of and responsible for the local economic development process. As these activities are conceived as endogenous rather than exogenous processes, the sustainability of initiated project and programme activities is ensured.
Synergy and catalytic effects must be used in order to create trust and co-responsibility amongst the local actors the long-term goals of programmes. Therefore, it is of extreme importance to make sure that short-term, concrete and visible results (impacts) are achieved. Setting of 'good examples' contributes to raise the level of motivation and awareness of the target population. These examples though, must have such characteristics that they can be easily repeated.
'Globalisation of the Local Level' refers to the incorporation of the local experiences into a wider frame work of laws and regulations at the national level. The LED methodology wants to prevent the creation of isolated technical exercises which can not be repeated or united in overall strategic development policies.
In the context of the actual project 'Public Awareness Raising' will lead to the creation of a more appropriate entrepreneurial culture and a low-risk atmosphere. It is one of the most difficult aspects of the LED as it is dealing with the mentality of the people at all levels. It is exactly there that the major changes have to be established in order to guarantee sustainability of development. It is also at this point that the major obstacles and problems are to be found.
In order to attain the global sustainable development of the local economy, consensus and discussion are the main requirements among different local actors in the private and public sector, between the members of these sectors and at the local and national level. This consensus should lead to the provision of a supportive policy framework, the development of financial schemes to enable entrepreneurs to take up small enterprises and the provision of training to develop entrepreneurial and technical skills, which are considered necessary conditions to develop the local community.
The target group consists of representatives and decision makers of local public bodies responsible for local economic and social development, potential business starters, entrepreneurs of all branches (men and women) and business associations.
Small and medium enterprises are characterised by their flexibility which permits them to evolve even in small markets. Beginning with the regional market's potential by using their regional comparative advantage, the SMEs have the possibility to grow and expand their markets in the regions. Branches with high potential of development based on local resources, food processing, textile, repair and services offer good possibilities for growth. Tourism (in a broad sense) also offers a great opportunity of allowing the development of family-owned and managed enterprises that can provide income-generating work for many, including women and young people.
SME support and promotion through Business Promotion and Support Centres (BPSC)
An enabling political environment, the development of financial schemes to enable entrepreneurs to take up small enterprises and the provision of training to develop entrepreneurial (mentality) and technical skills are considered to be three basic conditions to guarantee a sustainable development of the local economy. In order to attain this, consensus and thus discussion are one of the main requirements; consensus and discussion among different local actors in the private and public sector, between the private and public sector and between the local and the national level.
In this context Business Promotion and Support Centres will be promoting and supporting SME's, with a view to maximizing employment growth and improving the standards of competitiveness of the SME's in the given area. This will be done by:
1. Promoting an entrepreneurial culture, where potential business men become aware of what is means to have a proper business, learn about the responsibilities, risks and possibilities. The lack of a market oriented 'Business Mentality' can partly be overcome by introducing very practically oriented training material, introducing the basics of entrepreneurship on a step-by-step basis. In the context of the Action Plan training material will be further developed and up-graded. The process to develop the practical oriented training material will be based on a constant dialogue with and feedback from the target group, the business starters. Apart from the development of new training material, and the introduction of participatory training activities, an effective monitoring and follow-up mechanism will have to be established in order to guarantee to the most the success of the business starters;
2. Providing locally-based comprehensive support to potential or actual small and medium entrepreneurs, introducing information, new management techniques, as well as new technologies. These services will facilitate guidance and assistance in formulating business ideas and selecting feasible business projects, implementing new enterprises or rehabilitating existing ones, following up and counselling on the entrepreneurs' operations with a view to consolidating their sustainability and assisting in the promotion and marketing of the product on an international level;
3. Mobilising opportunities and resources, setting up guidelines and procedures to facilitate access to credit and incentives for employment generation and training. As there are several special credit schemes for micro and small entrepreneurs in the pipeline with different international programmes and organisations, a special credit fund or financial mechanisms are foreseen in the context of this proposal;
4. Stimulating and supporting a 'dialogue' at the local level, between public and private sector aimed at promoting private entrepreneurship, in order to create a relation of confidence between the local public organisations and the private sector; and
5. Contributing to and facilitation of a more appropriate environment at the national level by creating Association of Development Agencies and Business Centres, through which the interests of the SME's will be regulated, protected and represented at the national - political - level.
The basic orientation of BPSC's activities will be towards the identification and implementation of profitable, efficient and organised entrepreneurial activities, that contribute to a local economic and employment development. It will support those activities or projects which associate best with the economic potential of the area, utilising endogenous resources, stimulating multiplier effects towards the local economy.
In other words, the main tasks of the BPSC's will be:
· orientation and motivation to stimulate local economic initiatives;
· assist in the preparation of business plans for private enterprises;
· intermediate in the provision of credit;
· support and strengthen already existing enterprises;
· stimulate product diversification;
· provide training and technical assistance; and
· maintain relations with national and international institutions for technical and/or financial support.
These tasks will have to be performed within a by-all parties agreed logical frame work for the development of the local economy. The BPSC's will operate as a catalyst in a discussion forum or as a Local Planning mechanism, operating as a canal, from the bottom up, for the interests of the local entrepreneurs (maximising the utilisation of local resources and potentials and aiming at the satisfaction of local economic needs, always on the basis of consensus).
The BPSC's will though only be capable of entering into a valuable partnership with national and international partners and can only contribute to the increasing problems of unemployment, underemployment, poverty and the deterioration of living and working standards, if they receive the appropriate technical and financial assistance in local capacity building. This means that assistance is required to up-grade and develop the institutional, human, managerial and financial capacities and skills at a local level which will lead to an empowerment of the local societies as a whole.
Financial resources are indispensable for employment creation by enterprises and governments, be it in the form of debt or self financing. Safe and attractively remunerated deposit facilities do not exist: either personal savings are kept liquid at no return, or they are invested in other activities with a return that is lower than its equivalent deposit in banks or credit unions. As a result, there is little capital accumulation that could serve the formation of productive assets like machines, equipment and stocks. Most enterprises have no access to other financial services such as lease finance or guarantees.
The reasons lie largely in the organisation and functioning of financial markets, in the institutional culture of banks, information asymmetries and the scarcity of investment opportunities. The situation is not entirely bleak: Africa's financial sector is also characterized by a wealth of innovative techniques in financial intermediation that help to reduce risks and costs. This applies particularly to the informal sector, be they group-based like tontines and other ROSCAs or undertaken by individual operators like moneylenders. They operate in a personalized manner which allows them to do without written contracts, while keeping up social pressure to ensure compliance with repayment obligations. The problem is that the financial services provided in the informal sector are often too small, too short and sometimes too expensive to be of interest to investors with job-creating opportunities.
A programme of action in this domain must focus on key constraints in Africa's financial sector that have a direct bearing on jobs: collateral constraints, lender transaction costs, governance and performance of social funds, savings mobilization and an inappropriate or non-existing regulatory environment. Such a programme must engage the policy dialogue with central macroeconomic institutions (Central Bank), while at the same time it must support grass roots initiatives. The one reinforces the other, and only implementation at these two levels would be effective.
The following strategies, that generalize lessons learnt and best practices tested in ongoing ILO and other field projects, are:
Expansion of member-based financial organisations
This strategy would enlarge and generalize the lessons of an ongoing successful partnership of the ILO with the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO). The joint programme, PASMEC, supports at the macro - and institutional level decentralized financial systems (village banks, women savings groups etc.), i.e. precisely those suppliers that the informal sector operators and micro entrepreneurs turn to when making small investments. The PASMEC spans a very formal monetary authority and very informal grassroots initiatives: it is an attractive illustration of how the ILO can influence policy-making with an enormous outreach effect, namely through national coordination fore in each of the seven member countries of the monetary union bringing together NGO networks, banks, governments, Central Bank and donors. The success of the PASMEC has triggered recently a request by the monetary authority of the other CFA zone, the BEAC, to replicate the support programme in the five central African countries there.
Strengthening Social Development Funds
Social Funds have sometimes a micro credit window, that is most often administered by Government. The performance of such an arrangement has not been satisfactory and the ILO has therefore favourably responded to a request by the Government of Zimbabwe to turn around their micro credit facility within the Social Development Fund at the Ministry of Labour. The challenge is to set up a genuine APEX structure that lends through national retailers (banks and financial NGOs) and thus reaches more micro enterprises and the self-employed. It is of particular relevance to those who lost their jobs as a result of Structural Adjustment measures. The ILO has been contacted by the AFDB to generalize the rehabilitation programme.
Support to micro finance professional organisations
Jobs in Africa will be mostly created in the private sector. Employment policies make sense only if they address the constraints faced by private sector operators to undertake investments and create jobs. A key player in this respect is the private financial sector that acts according to cooperative principles. It is mutual savings and credit associations and cooperative banks that are most sensitive to the financial needs of the SMEs anywhere in the world, including Africa. The ILO has been testing an approach to help mutual savings and credit organisations acquire a genuine power and advocacy status. In Madagascar, for example, the ILO discovered a genuine need, and demand for, a professional association to represent members vis-a-vis public authorities, other financial institutions and donors. This policy dialogue is going to alter radically the financial conditions of participants, thus indirectly increasing employment in the rural areas and the informal urban economy. These best practices derived from the support programme in Madagascar show that viable micro finance institutions (MFIs) can indeed combine outreach and sustainability objectives, but they have to (i) be independent, (ii) impose strict recovery conditions; (iii) search flexibility on collateral requirements; (iv) charge positive real interest rates; (v) offer deposit facilities; and (vi) maintain a diversified portfolio.
One of the most effective ways of combatting poverty is by examining ways of enhancing the quality, the productivity, and the social protection of workers in the informal economy. An action programme in this field must include the following six main interrelated elements:
Improving the enabling environment and social protection in the informal economy
Appropriate measures must be taken to ensure that policies are aligned with the more productive development of the sector. Rules governing zoning, registration, access to land, and work sites must be reviewed in the light of their probable impact on the workings of the informal economy. The overall regulatory environment relating to such issues as legislation, taxation and fees will also need to be streamlined and made more sector-friendly. This calls for actions to strengthen the capacity of the authorities responsible for drafting these regulations or designing policies affecting the sector.
Efforts must be made to promote collective action at the grassroots level by strengthening or supporting the formation of associations based on sectoral activities within the informal sector. This will assist informal sector operators to articulate their needs and provide the basis for participating in policy and programme design and implementation which affect informal sector workers.
Increasing access to financial services and marketing opportunities
Sub-section ii, covers the proposed suggestions in this domain.
Promoting industrial and manufacturing activities and improved technologies
A particularly important sub-sector of the informal economy is the production of manufacturing and industrial products and the provision of engineering services such as repair services largely for the benefit of the poorer segments of the population. Hence he promotion of this sector is not only aimed at raising the productivity and incomes of the poor producers, but also improving the consumption and welfare patterns of the poor. Support for the upgrading of technical managerial and marketing skills for producers of this sector will also be essential, as well as easier accessing of production inputs. Pilot experiences show that there is great demand for business advisory services. Most of the NGOs who work in the informal sector lack the capacity to develop training programmes on business management and business practices. The provision of consultancy services in the fields of business regulations, management and skills training would be highly useful and appreciated by NGOs and informal sector operators.
Improving sectoral backward and forward linkages and subcontracting
Productivity and employment will be enhanced and poverty further reduced, if both forward and backward inter-linkages between formal sector enterprises and establishments in the informal economy are specifically identified. The role of the state as a major contractor could be a major instrument in this connection, by encouraging its larger contractors to sub-contract to informal sector operators.
Intensifying infrastructural development using labour-intensive technology
Section 2.2.4, illustrates the mechanisms that could be adopted for this sector.
Improving basic education, technical skills and managerial training
Section 2.2.1, includes strategies to assist in the development of the human resources in the informal economy.
A major requirement to ensure appropriate policy making and adequate project implementation is the availability of data. It is thus necessary to explore alternative strategies that could reduce the cost of the data gathering exercise and simplify its processing. In so doing, it could be possible to guarantee the periodic availability of information on both poverty, employment, and African labour markets. The aim is to assess the changes in the poverty and employment status of particular population groups over time.
The cost effectiveness of investment on poverty reducing employment programmes depends on how the programmes are (1) targeted, (2) monitored, and (3) evaluated. On these three counts, information is indispensable. Information is useful when it is pertinent, when it is reliable, and when it is timely. Having 10 year old statistics on urban poverty is of no use to identify what are the priority populations to target in setting up employment programmes.
The poverty reducing effects of greater employment levels is not guaranteed under all circumstances. Programmes need not attain the neediest population segments, and the type of employment generated might not be of sufficient quality to rise the standards of living. It is thus critical to gather data both on employment and on poverty issues. Such information must show changes over time and space and, at the same time, satisfy the needs of a large number of policy makers and analysts wishing to understand the evolution of society and the impact of poverty reducing policies.
A long term information gathering strategy needs to be developed. It must identify an extremely limited number of issues for which data is required. For the purposes of this action programme, this encompasses exclusively data on employment and on poverty. It must then assess the periodicity of data collection. If poverty and employment levels change on a yearly basis there is no reason to gather data at shorter intervals. Depending on the frequency of change in the variables to measure cost effective data gathering and processing mechanisms should be developed. These could encompass a strategy of total population census every ten years, household surveys every two years and rapid assessment exercises every year, for example. While this programme of action could neither finance national census nor surveys, it could set the stage for the preparation of a coherent statistical programme to assess the poverty and employment statistics of sub-Saharan countries.8 The following steps could be undertaken to achieve such an aim:
· as a high priority activity, and using as much existing household survey data as possible, develop poverty maps to identify priority intervention areas;
· identify culturally specific proxy indicators of poverty that are simple and inexpensive to gather and process, to have a rough - but statistically significant-idea of employment levels, the quality of such employment and poverty levels and their changes. These proxies could be derived from the extensive surveys already carried out in many sub-Saharan countries, but should be tested before initiating any large scale job creating strategy. Their cost, reliability and effectiveness would need to be compared to alternative rapid assessment methods;
· use modern sampling techniques (possible through the development of clusters) to gather data on proxies, and to reduce the cost of the less frequent but periodic sample surveys;
· identify the periodicity of more full featured sample surveys to confirm the accuracy and the statistical validity of the proxy indicators and to have a more detailed picture of the situation of the population;
· assist public authorities to set up user groups to determine the nature of the data that needs to be collected and to assist in the dissemination of the information thus collected;
· programme regular evaluations of employment generating; and
· develop and strengthen local capacity to gather statistics, process and disseminate them promptly.
8 The PA-SMEC provides an example of data collection strategies already being implemented in the continent by the ILO. It is a joint initiative of the ILO (Social Finance Unit) and the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO) which regroups the countries of the Franc CFA monetary union. The PA-SMEC seeks to promote decentralized and mutual savings and credit systems, like village banks, savings associations, credit unions etc. In addition to advising on an incentive-based policy and regulatory framework, the PA-SMEC has also developed a data bank, which is the only source of complete and reliable information with quantitative data on microfinance on the seven countries concerned. The Central Bank of Central African States (BEAC) has requested the ILO to expand this system to Central Africa, as well.
These statistical exercises must be supplemented with community and participatory data. The former must identify institutions and the existing infrastructure in which programmes operate. The former signals the needs and perceptions of beneficiaries of direct interventions.
Although Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) methods sometimes seek to establish absolute values their prime strength is in assessing relative values. These are especially useful in monitoring situations where policy impacts are assessed. Changes in inequality can be indicated by wealth ranking exercises; changes in livelihood activities and the intensity with which they are pursued can be examined through seasonal calendars and daily schedules; information on market changes (including prices) can be obtained from key informants; and intra-household inequalities can be explored through group discussions with women and by comparing calendars and schedules of men and women. It is unlikely that participatory monitoring could accurately track the full primary and secondary effects of macroeconomic and sectoral reforms. However, aspects of the consequences, such as relative changes in incomes and expenditures, may be assessed using PRA. Participatory techniques are useful in adding depth of understanding to the quantitative data collected by large-scale household monitoring surveys. An example is the trend in African Famine Early Warning Systems to incorporate socio-economic data derived from small-scale community monitoring techniques within traditionally 'technical' systems of crop and rainfall forecasting. This combination of quantitative and qualitative monitoring systems allows analysts and policy-makers to assess the impact of environmental changes (such as drought) on households affected by this change, and makes for timelier and better targeted interventions.
Durable and high quality employment is only obtained when there is a dynamic and competitive enterprise sector. Data on establishments is therefore as important as that concerning the population. In parallel to the proposals made on the supply side, an information system to assess the evolution of enterprises both in the formal and informal economy is required. The following steps could be undertaken to achieve such an aim:
· identify a minimal set of variables to include in a rapid establishment assessment questionnaire;
· use modern sampling techniques (possible through the development of clusters) to gather data on establishments;
· identify the periodicity of more full featured sample surveys to confirm the accuracy and the statistical validity of the indicators included in the rapid appraisal exercise;
· assist public authorities to set up user groups to determine the nature of the data that needs to be collected and to assist in the dissemination of the information thus collected;
· programme regular evaluations of the effects of policies on enterprise development; and
· develop and strengthen local capacity to gather statistics, process and disseminate them promptly.
This programme component will be developed and implemented in close collaboration with the ILO Action Programme on Labour Market Indicators.
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.
Programmes should focus on the integration of the gender perspective in the reform of both the macro-economic framework, and of the legal and policy environment, on packages for enlarging opportunities, improving the productivity and terms of employment in the two major sectors in the African economy, on a proactive outlook at future opportunities and aims at anticipating and preparing women to take advantage of wage employment opportunities in the new growth sectors, and, finally, on a targeted approach for providing an effective outreach and support measures to particularly disadvantaged groups of women workers and/or girls, children and adolescents.
It is necessary to encourage and support national initiatives for the review and reform of policy and legal frameworks and for the promotion of tripartite dialogue with the participation of employers' and workers' organisations, and women's organisations, on desirable and feasible reform strategies. The following actions need to be carried out in order to achieve this objective:
a) establish and/or support national task forces for the review of constitutional provisions, laws and regulations regulating property rights and employment (family code, employment acts, etc.) and identification of problem areas;
b) examine the conditions for ratification of relevant ILO standards;
c) review of the efficiency of enforcement mechanisms;
d) adopt and implement of an action plan, including:
· specific reform priorities, strategies and timetable;
· appropriate and vigorous information campaigns on rights of women, using media and other means for an effective outreach;
· support to legal aid agencies and para-legal training schemes.
A priority in this field is integrating a gender perspective in the policy agenda on economic reform and adjustment policies: encouraging and promoting a national debate on the structural adjustment policies, with the full participation of all actors involved including the Government (line agencies and local government), employers' and workers' organisations, women's organisations and other intermediary organisations.
To ensure that women own-account farmers have equal access to the opportunities and benefits offered by improvements and progress, measures must be taken to enhance gender equality in extension services, technology dissemination, credit provision, and marketing. The following elements may be considered:
a) women's organisation: strengthening existing organisations, support to alliances among women's groups, support to search for collective solutions to common problems.
b) extension services: gender sensibilization of extension networks; improvements or changes in methods of work to take account of women's situation, needs; re-training or skills upgrading of extension agents with emphasis on practical experiences and contact with women farmers.
c) technology dissemination: with focus on farming and drudgery-reducing household technologies; mobile technology dissemination units; mobilization of local institutes and organisations engaged in agricultural technology research and development; encouraging direct contacts of women farmers with sources of technology.
d) access to and control over financial resources: support to and replication of local and/or regional best practices and successful mechanisms of savings mobilization and credit provision which may include in-depth assessment of current practices in the specific area, upgrading management practices, infusion of additional funds, linkages with other organized credit facilities with bigger capital base, improvements in operational modalities; setting up a credit facility if necessary taking into account successes and failures of credit schemes in the country or region; workshop among credit providers to take stock of operational modalities and progress in the field of financial services for small rural borrowers.
e) marketing: assessing access to new marketing institutions; re-orientation of women farmers; perhaps women's own mechanism of participating more effectively in the market.
f) adult literacy: this will reinforce impact of interventions in extension services, technology dissemination and credit provision.
To improve income-earning opportunities in the informal sector, by strengthening women's entrepreneurship in urban areas and upgrading women's employment in the informal sector, the following measures should be considered:
a) workshops and training courses for support institutions: mainstreaming gender into existing government and non-governmental micro and small entrepreneurship programmes; assessment of the policy environment operational modalities, outlining further directions; review of legal and regulatory framework affecting the informal sector; and establishing concrete implementation plans, including timetable assigning responsibilities and monitoring progress.
b) small business service centres: set up and managed through collective efforts of intermediary organisations and/or women grassroots organisations in areas where informal sector activities are concentrated.
c) skills training: taking into account lessons from previous experiences with regards to non-formal training for women, improvements in ongoing training programmes and training systems to give women better and equal access to training services in emerging economic opportunities; or innovative training schemes; linkages with new developments in and sources of technology. (Section 2.2.1., deals with this issue in particular).
d) credit assistance: either support ongoing local, effective savings and credit mechanisms through technical assistance, management training, infusion of funds or improvements in operational modality; or establishment of a credit scheme taking into account lessons from previous experiences with different types of credit schemes, (Section 2.2.2.ii, deals with this issue)
e) adult literacy classes, including functional literacy and numeracy;
f) women's organisation: promoting organisations of women workers in the informal sector, through training for capacity building, support to collective efforts and to the development of alliances and networks; para-legal training.
Where the private formal sector is relatively important, where manufacturing is relatively significant, and where private investment has begun to show signs of revival and growth it would be necessary to enhance women's opportunities in private sector wage employment through:
a) diversified skills training for women: reform of training systems (organisation and delivery of vocational skills training) of institutions in capital cities, major urban centres, and near or around EPZs, to make them suitable and responsive to women's needs and to marketable skills in the context of reforming economies; re-orientation of management and instructional staffs; close collaboration with employers in the private sector and in EPZs, who are in the best position to determine skills demand, to offer on-the-job training, and to open up job opportunities for women; improvements in placement or manpower offices; information dissemination for women.
b) export processing zones: consideration of pioneer measures to enhance productivity of workers such as on-site services (e.g. canteen, health and child care services); observance of labour standards; workshop for discussions and exchange of experience on best and common practices in EPZs.
On the whole, this programme component would be closely interlinked with the ILOs International Programme on More and Better Jobs for Women.
Rural economies of the SSA countries can not have healthy growth unless the rest of the SSA economies achieve robust growth. Policies for employment-intensive growth of the rural economy must be designed as an integral part of the strategy of growth for the overall economy.
To ensure a high output elasticity of employment it will be necessary to adopt several measures that will provide additional impetus to equity. An important is that the total package of policies will have a far greater effect on output and employment than the sum of the effects of individual policies in isolation. This is because the package includes clusters within which policies are mutually reinforcing, rendering these clusters into virtuous circles.
9 A regional research programme in several French - and English speaking African countries is being set up to review the impact of financial sector liberalisation on the access of SMEs and microenterprises to bank services. This programme will be steered by committees composed of Central Banks, commercial banks, credit unions, business associations and other user groups; the actual research will be carried by local research institutions in partnership with Dutch and other European agencies.
· Land is the primary resource in rural SSA. Improved access to productive resources is the key to the enhancement of productive employment. In many countries peasant commitment to land improvement can be enhanced greatly by replacing the informal access to land by proper land titling. Where redistributive land reform is not feasible, progressive land tax and other measures should be implemented to discourage large landowners from keeping land unused for speculative purposes and to encourage them to use it for productive purposes.
· The SSA countries should diversify their agricultural exports in the direction of goods for which demand is more income elastic. It is highly unlikely that private flows into SSA will rise much in the near future. Thus, the SSA countries will however continue to require a substantial inflow of external resources. Since the prices of their exports are unlikely to return to the levels prevailing in the 1970s and the early 1980s in real terms, these countries will need to be compensated until they are able to develop new exports. Examples of such goods are cut flowers and fruits and vegetables.
· The development of new, export-oriented, farm products and the promotion of rural non-farm activities may be treated simultaneously because they need similar incentives and resources. The identification of products is the beginning. This task is clearly beyond the ability of individual farmers and small-scale rural entrepreneurs. Agricultural research systems must take the lead, in association with public or private trading agencies, in identifying these products, in providing credit and in promoting prospective entrepreneurs with assistance in design and marketing services.
· The rural economy must receive adequate reward for its effort. The first major requirement is to abandon the age-old system of imposing unfavourable producers' price on the farmers. A second area in which incentives need adjustment is the discriminatory taxes, tariffs and controls that harm smallholders and obviate the adoption of labour-intensive techniques of production.
· Peasants must have improved access to basic implements, improved seed and fertilizer. The supply of these inputs must be increased substantially and their absorption must be facilitated by peasants' access to credit. Increased access to basic inputs must be complemented by the provision of extension services.
· The improvement in infrastructure with emphasis on roads and irrigation is crucial to the accessibility of technology and its benefits.
Cooperatives have a considerable employment creation potential. However, very little of this potential is presently being used in Africa, because:
· governments and donors consider cooperatives primarily as an instrument for the delivery of pre- and post production services to (already self-employed) farmers, and not as a means to create jobs;
· labour-intensive types of cooperatives (workers' cooperatives, labour contracting cooperatives, ESOP-type enterprises, social service cooperatives, cooperative networks in the informal sector etc), which are very successful in other parts of the world, are virtually unknown in Africa;
· social partners are focussing on the promotion of cooperatives that provided services to employed people instead of promoting cooperatives that create new jobs.
To change this situation, governments and development partners must reorient their cooperative development policies, adapt their cooperative laws and create a cost-efficient system for the delivery of adequate technical and financial support services to job creating cooperatives. The following actions have to be carried out to achieve this:
At regional and sub-regional levels:
· Reorient the support activities of regional cooperative organisations (ICA, ACCOSCA) towards job creation;
· Put cooperative development on the agenda of sub-regional economic entities (SADC, PTA, UDEAC, CEEAC etc.).
At national level:
· bring cooperative development policies and cooperative acts in line with democratic principles, the market economy and universal cooperative principles, and include special provisions for workers' cooperatives and worker-owned enterprises;
· organize a tripartite dialogue on job creation through cooperatives at national level;
· integrate cooperative promotion into other sector development policies, in particular the employment policy;
· include the option of workers' takeovers as an alternative to the privatization or liquidation of para-statal agencies or state companies;
· create, in collaboration with national NGOs, trade unions and government units, a comprehensive service infrastructure that provides cooperatives with the following services:
- assistance in administrative procedures for the establishment of a cooperative for self-employment;
- technical advice and training in product design and production technology;
- managerial advice and management training;
- marketing assistance, including export marketing;
- access to capital through a guarantee fund and the establishment of mutual guarantee associations;
- advice and assistance in organizing social services for members;
- advice and assistance on the establishment of secondary organisations, such as unions of workers' cooperatives.
At meso-level (support institutions):
· improve the technical capacity of support structures that are part of the aforementioned service infrastructure;
· promote the vertical integration workers' cooperatives and similar organisations, and the horizontal integration of workers' cooperatives and other types of cooperatives.
· provide, through the service infrastructure and the collaborating support organisations, adequate technical and financial support services to workers' cooperatives and similar organisations.