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African member-states should come up with innovative policies to stem the increasing informalisation of the continent’s economies, Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Prisca Mupfumira has said.

Addressing the 41st African Regional Labour Administration Centre (ARLAC) meeting of ministers in Geneva, Switzerland, last week, Minister Mupfumira said the informal economy was marked by “acute” decent work deficits.

She said the informal sector thrived in the context of high unemployment, underemployment, poverty and gender inequality.

“This no doubt is a major cause for concern for ministries of labour, particularly for Africa where the majority of the labour force is in the informal economy,” Minister Mupfumira, who is the ARLAC chairperson said.

“The fact that informality is gaining ground and remains a crucial development challenge does not mean absence of an innovative policy implementation to fight vulnerable employment and working poverty. In this context, we at ARLAC are privileged to have a centre mandated to look into such issues. This is more so because what our colleagues in the developed world may term the informal economy is far removed from the harsh realities affecting Africa.”

The Ministers’ meeting was held on the side lines of the 104th session of the International Labour Conference in Geneva, Switzerland that ended over the weekend.

Minister Mupfumira commended African countries’ dedication to ARLAC, saying this was the only way they could brainstorm, analyse and proffer solutions to the challenges bedevilling labour administration on the continent. ARLAC, which is head-quartered in Zimbabwe, is an intergovernmental training institution of English-speaking African countries in labour and employment.

“ARLAC is the main platform, where we can share current policy debates and good practices to promote decent work and transition to formality that are practicable and based on our experiences,” she said.

“It provides us with an opportunity to examine labour challenges in greater detail as they affect us as a continent.”

Minister Mupfumira urged some of the 20 ARLAC member-states that are not honouring their obligations, including subscriptions to reconsider their positions.

Source : The Herald