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Tackling youth unemployment and gender equality in EAC

By Vivian Agaba

Added 11th May 2018 05:44 PM

The MOU further provides for the expansion of micro, small and medium enterprises for employment creation.

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The MOU further provides for the expansion of micro, small and medium enterprises for employment creation.

Pic: Chibebe and Mfumukeko after signing the Memorandum of Understanding. (Credit: Vivia Agaba) 

EMPLOYMENT DRIVE

TANZANIA- The East African Community (EAC) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the International Labour Organisation (ILO), aimed at improving the working environment within the region. 

The EAC is a regional intergovernmental organisation of six member states which include; Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan. 

The MOU seeks to, among other things, address youth unemployment, extension of social security, gender equality and empowerment of women at work places. 

The pact was signed by the EAC Secretary General, Amb. Liberat Mfumukeko and the director ILO, Wellington Chibebe at the EAC headquarters in Arusha, a city in North Eastern Tanzania on May 11. 

Mfumukeko said the revised MOU provides for the development of a framework for the harmonisation of the EAC Partner States’ policies on social security in line with the ILO Convention on Social Security no. 102 of 1952.

The main features of the convention 102 include access to medical care, employment injury, old age benefit and maternity benefit. 

The MOU further provides for the expansion of micro, small and medium enterprises for employment creation. 

"Also included is the development of an EAC labour migration policy as one of the facilitators of labour mobility in the community,” Mfumukeko said.

He said the community was striving to address youth unemployment, adding that having well educated but unemployed youth are a time bomb. 

Mfumukeko also disclosed that EAC partner states were addressing the issue by seeking to make agriculture an attractive income generating venture for the youth. 

In his remarks, ILO country director, Wellington Chibebe, said the organisation would work with the EAC to accelerate regional integration and at the same time ensure that the drivers of integration, that is the free movement of labour, goods and services, enhance livelihoods of the millions of working women and men and their families. 

Chibebe added that giving financial assistance to the needy instead of equipping them with vocational skills was akin to creating a culture of perpetual dependency.

Unemployment in the region 

Kenya has the lowest employment rate in the EAC region according to a recent UN report, The 2017 Human Development Index (HDI).

According to the report by the United Nations Development Programme,  nearly four in every 10 Kenyans of working age have no jobs.

The East African economic giant trails her counterparts with 39.1% of the Kenyan population of working age being unemployed compared to Tanzania’s %, Ethiopia’s 21.6%, Uganda’s 18.1% and Rwanda’s 17.1%.

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