Pres. Banda hails ILO for supporting Malawi on employment

President Joyce Banda has appreciated the support from the International Labour Organisation (ILO) which has enabled Malawi to develop the Decent Work Country Programme to address the challenge of jobless growth.

Addressing the 102nd Session of the International Labour conference in Geneva, Switzerland on Wednesday, the Malawi leader said the decent work agenda is an integral part of the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy II 2011 – 2016 and the Economic Recovery Program.

The Malawi leader who was given a standing ovation at the summit, said the ILO has also helped Malawi to develop the Employment Policy to guide job creation initiatives; the piloting of the G 20 education and skills for employability project; the organisation of a very successful high level policy dialogue on supporting productive employment and decent work held in October, 2012 and a study on “The Enabling Environment for Sustainable Enterprises in Malawi”.

She noted that these initiatives have provided valuable input towards the development of the country’s job creation strategies, noting that decent employment was a valuable way of routing out poverty.

President Banda after addressing ILO conference
President Banda after addressing ILO conference

The President cited the launch of the Youth Job Creation Initiative in March this year, which aims at building skills for youth and creating employment opportunities for them, as part of the economic recovery process.

She said the decent work agenda has also given Malawi the impetus to take a critical look at the country’s social security system. And to this end enacted the acted the Pension Act which makes it mandatory for employers to put their workers on pension.

Government has also launched the Social Support Policy which covers all vulnerable groups through, among other things, public works programs, she said.

Considering that over 80 percent of Malawi’s population lives in the rural areas and relies on agriculture, improving the rural sector has the potential to greatly reduce poverty.

She said that is why one major focus of the Government is to improve the livelihood of the rural population through a business approach to agriculture by taking agriculture as a sector that has potential to generate jobs and wealth for many Malawians.

Stressing that Malawi wants to focus on commercialising, diversifying and modernizing the agriculture sector, she said she was grateful that Malawi has been admitted as a new country partner in the G 8 New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition.

The initiative will enable Malawi to accelerate private sector investments in the agriculture sector, which has tremendous opportunities for job and wealth creation, she said.

The Malawi leader informed the summit that she had established the Mudzi Transformation Trust to provide accessible, responsive and flexible funds for implementation of various social and economic projects to rejuvenate rural economies.

‘’Through these initiatives, my government will provide its citizens with job creation opportunities,” Banda said.

The President also said Malawi was committed to combating the problem of child labour and as such Government has developed a national action plan covering the period 2010 – 2016 to guide child labour elimination efforts. She said she was happy with the partnership Malawi has with the International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour to eliminate child labour in the country.

‘’I pledge to continue to champion the zero tolerance to child labour in Malawi, and also to intensify programs to eradicate the poverty which is the root cause of this problem,’’ she said.

An important issue in labour matters is the need to look at equitable access to decent work by women and men.

To this end, she said she had promoted at least 100 deserving women into decision making positions, as one way of showing her commitment to addressing issues of equitable access to decent employment.

These she said included nine cabinet ministers and deputy ministers; the Head of the Civil Service, the Acting Head of the Judiciary, the Deputy Inspector General of Police, 18 Permanent  Secretaries and other heads of government departments.

Exchange of gifts between Guy Ryder, ILO Director-General and President Banda at the  102nd Session of the International Labour Conference. Geneva, 12 June 2013.
Exchange of gifts between Guy Ryder, ILO Director-General and President Banda at the 102nd Session of the International Labour Conference. Geneva, 12 June 2013.
Pres. Banda attressing ILO conference in Geneva
Pres. Banda attressing ILO conference in Geneva
Malawi delegation join in the standing ovation after President Banda's speech
Malawi delegation join in the standing ovation after President Banda’s speech

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