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Job crisis threatens economic progress


Malawi and other countries have been tasked to promote productive employment and decent work for all to end extreme cases of poverty.

Malawi is ranked among the World’s poorest countries with most of its citizens surviving on less than a dollar per day.

In a note to the United Nations High Level Political Forum, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) said the decent work agenda and its four pillars of social dialogue, labour rights, social protection and employment, places the world of work at the centre of the solutions to social, economic and environmental problems.

The ILO estimates that 57 percent of those who live in extreme poverty are working women and men. It further estimates that the group accounts for 12 percent of the total working age population in developing countries.

Recent developments in Malawi’s labour market, including an ailing economy that has seen companies streamlining their workforces, have been described by economic commentators as factors that have reduced Malawi’s chances to meet the decent work agenda.

The Malawi Congress of Trade Unions has also cited job cuts following mergers approved on the domestic market as a blow to Malawi’s hopes of ever achieving decent work for its people arguing that job creation is one of the pillars in the decent work agenda. Parties involved in the mergers justified the job cuts on the basis that they followed all requirements as set out by law.

Decent work creation forms part of the 2030 Development Agenda and there has been an increased urgency among international policy-makers, particularly in the wake of the global financial and economic crisis of 2008, to deliver quality jobs along with social protection and respect for rights at work to achieve sustainable and inclusive economic growth to eliminate poverty.

The ILO says the major challenge of the universal 2030 Agenda is formulating and implementing policies for decent work for poverty reduction.

“They may be poor farmers or indigenous people in one country and or self-employed or jobless youth in another. Social and economic policy-making needs to be informed and guided by a focus on these at-risk groups,” says the International labour body.

Malawi has been facing a labour crisis which has seen most of its youth left out of the job market. The Employers Consultative Association of Malawi recently made history when it led the country to pioneer the establishment of a Global Apprenticeship Netwok (Gan), a coalition of leading companies committed to end youth unemployment and skills mismatch by investing in work-based training.

The Gan Malawi network will provide employers with an opportunity to advocate for conducive environment to accommodate young people in different organisations to give them necessary skills for employability.

The government also launched the community colleges programme which is one of its strategies to address rampant youth unemployment through the impartation of vocational skills.

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