This First Five Year Priority Programme on Employment, Poverty Eradication and Inclusive Development is a strategic framework within which the objectives of the AU Assembly Declaration and Plan of Action on Employment, Poverty Eradication and inclusive Development are to be realized. Further, it feeds into the aspirations, goals and priority areas of action of the First Ten Year Implementation Plan of the AU’s Agenda 2063, which include the attainment of “…a high standard of living, quality of life and well-being for all” through the provision inter alia of “incomes, jobs and decent work”. These objectives cohere with the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, particularly goal 1, to end poverty in all its forms; goal 8, to promote sustainable economic growth, full productive employment and decent work; and goal 10, to reduce inequality within and among countries.
Determined to lay the groundwork to fully address these issues, the Heads of State and Government of the African Union at their 21st Ordinary Session, adopted a Declaration and Plan of Action on Employment, Poverty Reduction and Inclusive Development. The Declaration and the Plan of Action are anchored on six Key Priority Areas:
- Political Leadership, Accountability and Good Governance;
- Youth and Women Employment;
- Social Protection and Productivity for Sustainable and Inclusive Growth;
- Well-functioning and Inclusive Labour Market Institutions;
- Labour Migration and Regional Economic Integration;
- Partnership and Resource Mobilization.
The African Union Commission, in collaboration with the ILO and other international partners have drawn up a Five-Year Priority Programme based on these six Key Priority Areas. The present Programme seeks to invest African countries with the capacity to move from intent to action and results in their bid to create decent jobs for their people, significantly increase their social protection and raise them out of poverty.
The AUC, RECs and their international partners will serve as major catalysts in this transition, initiating those measures that would help invest member states with capabilities to actually bring down unemployment, underemployment and poverty, while meaningfully enhancing social protection. It seeks to decisively tackle the pervasive challenge of resource mobilization; building on Public-Private Partnerships is one of the innovative means of conducting employment policies.
The Five Year Priority Programme will contribute to the achievement of specific targets of the Ten Year Implementation Plan of Agenda 2063. Under the Priority Area “Incomes, Jobs and decent work”, member states will endeavour to (i) Reduce 2013 unemployment rate by at least 25% and (ii) Reduce Youth and Women unemployment rate by 2% per annum . Under the Priority Area “STI driven Manufacturing / Industrialization and Value Addition”, the “Share of labour intensive manufacturing output is increased by 50% over its 2013 level”. Regarding the Priority Area “Agricultural productivity and production”, member states should “Increase youth and women participation in integrated agricultural value chains by at least 30%”. For the post-conflict countries, under the Priority Area “Maintenance and Restoration of Peace and Security”, member states must reduce the level of conflict emanating from ethnicity, all forms of exclusion, religious and political differences by at least 50% of 2013 levels.