Empowering African Women and Youth for their effective participation in Trade and Investment Processes

Keywords : Newsletters Gender Equality Organising And Workers Empowerment - Trade Union Unity Youth Work - Organising And Workers Empowerment Kenya

As part of the lead-up to the 5th Congress of ITUC-Africa delegates, the African Labour Research and Education Institute of ITUC-Africa (ALREI), in partnership with LRS, Labour Research Service, South Africa is organising a three-day capacity building and engagement program at the Luke Hotel, Nairobi, from November 23 to 25, 2023. In collaboration with SASK (the Finnish Trade Union Solidarity Centre), and with financial support from the e Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, this program is part of a wider project entitled with the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, this program falls under the broader project titled "African Trade Unions’ Agenda and Effective Participation in Trade and Investment Processes : Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA)."

This initiative targets informal economy actors, specifically women and youth within trade union structures, focusing on matters intricately linked to the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).

While the AfCFTA is now in its second year of full operation, its roots trace back to its adoption on March 21, 2018. The agreement officially came into force on May 30, 2019, with proper trading commencing on January 1, 2021. As of May 2022, 54 countries (excluding Eritrea) had signed the agreement, with 43 of them having deposited their instruments of ratification, signifying an impressive 80% ratification rate.

As a flagship program, AfCFTA aligns with the aspirations outlined in the AU Agenda 2063. It aims to create a prosperous Africa through inclusive growth and sustainable development, relying on the potential of African people, particularly women and youth. The agreement is anticipated to establish a single African market for goods and services, facilitate the free movement of people, mobilize regional investments, promote industrial development, and foster sustainable and inclusive socioeconomic growth.

This workshop is intended to enhance the capacity of African women and youth within trade unions operating in the informal economy. The focus lies on understanding trade and investment issues in relation to industrialization, employment creation, and sustainable development in Africa within the context of AfCFTA.

At least 60 participants, including trade union leaders, activists, women and youth within union structures, labor researchers, civil society organizations (CSOs), Solidarity Support Organizations and partners are discussing paths towards the formulation of a continental advocacy agenda for trade union engagement specifically concerning issues related to women and youth within the AfCFTA.

At the end of the 3 days, a comprehensive statement reflecting the position of African women and young people concerning AfCFTA, with a focus on employment creation and the promotion of decent work on the continent will be release.

As the echoes of this initiative resonate across the African continent, it signifies a critical step towards empowering and unifying the voices of women and youth within the trade union movement, setting the stage for transformative discussions at the upcoming 5th ITUC-Africa Congress that will be held from 28th to 30th November in Nairobi.

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