Tag Archives: Ethiopia

Creating employment for young people in Africa – By Chofor Che, 19 September 2013

A Declaration of Intent was signed at the African Union (AU) headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in early September 2013, between the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), the African Union Commission (AUC), the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the African Development Bank (AfDB).

In an article published on the 14th of September 2013 by BizTechAfrica, a social network specialised in African affairs especially in the ICT sector, the signing ceremony commenced with a word from the AU Commissioner of Social Affairs Dr. Mustapha S. Kaloko who stressed on the importance of this accord in furnishing a united platform via which youth employment in Africa can be enhanced.

The declaration imputes on each of the above international organisations to create employment opportunities for boosting youth development and empowerment in Africa. According to BizTechAfrica, the Joint Youth Employment Initiative for Africa (JYEIA) necessitates that the above mentioned four international organisations should focus on knowledge production, policy-level intervention and direct intervention.

According to the declaration, the African Union is obliged to ‘advocate, promote, and monitor the implementation of the Declaration on Employment Promotion and Poverty Alleviation, which was enacted during the Extraordinary Summit of African Heads of State and Government in Burkina Faso in September 2004.

This again is another feeble declaration which adds to numerous failed declarations signed by international organisations. Instead of boosting markets and small and medium size industries on the continent, international organisations like the ADB and the UN have decided to continue signing declarations of no consequences. Such declarations make no sense if African central governments do not adhere to them. In fact, holding meetings and signing such declarations is a waste of time and tax payers’ money.

Africa needs more than declarations. The human capital base of Africans, especially the youths, needs to be orientated towards production and not consumption especially of products from the West. African youths need to be introduced to business initiatives which project more of South-South cooperation. Entrepreneurial skills need to be inculcated in African youths.

The private sector in Africa remains porous. Instead of signing such accords and giving financial aid to African states, which eventually ends up in foreign bank accounts, it is germane for such organisations like the ADB, the ILO and the UN to rethink their strategy of ensuring that the African youth are part and parcel of Africa’s renaissance. Creating business and trade partnerships between youths in Africa and those in the diaspora could be a way to go. Encouraging youth to be involved in local government is another avenue which has not been exploited. This brings to question the collaborative role of the state in Africa in ensuring that such declarations geared towards youth employment reach fruition. African states need to see their youth as the future and work collaboratively with them in ensuring that Africa attains full potential. The educational system embraced from colonial masters need to be quashed completely and an educational system founded on entrepreneurial development and growth adopted. These are ways which if well thought through and implemented, may be beneficial to Africa’s youth.

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Posted by on September 20, 2013 in Africa Development


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Africa: World Bank – Uphold Rights – Prevent and Address Adverse Human Rights Impacts of Bank Activities, By Human Rights Watch (Washington, DC) via AllAfrica, 15 November 2012

press release

Washington — The World Bank should incorporate human rights in its revised policies as a key component of fulfilling its mission to eradicate poverty, Human Rights Watch and the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) said today.

A new review of the World Bank’s environmental and social policies, known as the “safeguard” policies, begins with a consultation meeting in Washington, DC on November 15, 2012.

“The World Bank has long ignored the importance of free speech, assembly, and association and other basic human rights,” said Jessica Evans, senior advocate on international financial institutions at Human Rights Watch. “In the wake of the popular upheavals in the Arab world, the World Bank needs to recognize that human rights are critically important to its efforts to reduce poverty.”

Some World Bank-funded projects have been plagued by human rights problems. The World Bank recently approved a project in Ethiopia that indirectly funds forced evictions of indigenous peoples and other marginalized ethnic groups. These forced evictions, in violation of international law, violate rights to adequate housing and other social and economic rights including the rights to food, water, and education.

The World Bank Group, whose mission is to reduce global poverty and achieve sustainable development, should make a commitment to incorporate and abide by human rights standards in all of its activities, the groups said. As a starting point, it should require human rights due diligence and put measures into place to address any human rights risks before financing projects and programs.

The World Bank’s review of the safeguard policies is expected to take two years, during which time it will accept comments on its current standards, including policies on indigenous peoples and involuntary resettlement, and on whether to expand its coverage to other areas such as labor rights and climate change.

The World Bank has an obligation to ensure that it does not fund rights abuses, directly or indirectly, the groups said. The safeguards review is an important opportunity to introduce the necessary checks and balances in order to avoid adverse rights impacts.

There are other benefits to a human rights-approach, the groups said. The World Bank has recognized that many people living in poverty are victims of discrimination, including women, indigenous peoples, and people with disabilities. By incorporating human rights standards, the bank would have a useful tool to address inequality and entrenched discrimination and to ensure that the benefits of development reach the most marginalized members of society.

Historically, the World Bank Group has dismissed human rights as a “political” issue and therefore outside of its mandate as a development bank. The same was true of corruption until a former Bank president, James Wolfensohn, took the seemingly risky step of raising “the c-word” and began to address the issue within the bank and in its lending. President Jim Yong Kim has a similar opportunity to modernize the bank by taking on human rights, the groups said.

“The World Bank Group is not above international law – the bank and its member states must abide by human rights standards in their development activities,” said Kris Genovese, senior attorney at CIEL. “Now is the time for the bank to move into the 21st century and, if he’s willing to show leadership andsustained engagement with member countries, Kim can realize this signature achievement.”


The current policies of the World Bank Group and their implementation are not sufficient to prevent or address the adverse impact on human rights that lending may have, the groups said. The diversification of lending instruments and activities supported by the Group are governed by a patchwork of inconsistent and increasingly vague policies that leave too much room for interpretation.

For instance, in the Ethiopia project, approved on September 25, the institution has not applied its safeguard policies on involuntary resettlement and indigenous peoples despite evidence that the project funds, at least indirectly, forced relocation of indigenous peoples and other marginalized ethnic groups. In other cases, even this patchwork of policies has been abandoned in favor of allowing funds to be disbursed without ensuring any protection for communities or the environment.

Commitment to human rights is not just a matter of good policy; it is also a political commitment and an obligation under international law. Member countries should not set aside their obligations to respect, protect, and fulfill human rights when they enter the boardroom or when they sign a loan agreement.

Further, as a UN specialized agency, the World Bank Group must act consistently with the UN Charter, which requires “[u]niversal respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all …” The UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights has also stated that the World Bank “should act as [an] advocate of projects and approaches which contribute … to enhanced enjoyment of the full range of human rights.” Individually and collectively, member countries have the duty to ensure that their decisions do not lead to human rights violations.

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Posted by on November 15, 2012 in Uncategorized


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