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EAC and ILO sign MoU to improve the work environment in East Africa

East African Community Secretariat, Arusha, Tanzania, 10th May, 2018: 

The East African Community and the International Labour Organization Thursday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) aimed at improving the work environment in East Africa.

The MoU which was signed at the EAC Headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania by EAC Secretary General Amb. Liberat Mfumukeko and Mr. Wellington Chibebe, the Director of the ILO Country Office in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania will, among other things, address issues such as youth employment, extension of social security, and Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women at the work place.

The MoU is a follow up to another one that was signed between the two organisations in 2001. The 2002 MoU enabled the EAC and ILO to develop and launch a five-year East African Decent Work Programme (2010-2015).

Amb. Mfumukeko said that the revised MoU provides for the development of a framework for the harmonisation of the EAC Partner States’ policies on social security in line with the ILO Convention on Social Security (Minimum Standards) No. 102 of 1952.

“The MoU further provides for the expansion of micro, small and medium enterprises for employment creation. Also included is the development of an EAC labour migration policy as one of the facilitators of labour mobility in the Community,” said the SG.

Amb. Mfumukeko said the Community was striving to address youth unemployment as a matter of priority, adding that having well educated but unemployed youth out of work was a time bomb.

He disclosed that EAC Partner States were addressing the issue by seeking to make agriculture as an attractive income generating venture for the youth. 

Noting that matters of Entry/Work Permit/Residence Permit have an impact on the immigration function in the Partner States, the EAC Secretariat would convene a joint meeting of the Chiefs of Immigration and Directors of Labour before June 2018to finalize the harmonization of Entry/Work/Residence permits.

A meeting of technical officers from EAC and ILO held from 30th April to 2nd May, 2018 agreed to enhance collaboration in the implementation of a two-year project towards the extension of social security benefits to migrant workers in the EAC.

In his remarks, ILO Country Director Wellington Chibebe said that his organisation would work with the EAC to accelerate regional integration and at the same time ensure that the drivers of integration, that is the free movement of labour, goods and services enhance livelihoods of the millions of working women and men and their families.

“We welcome the signing of this new Memorandum of Understanding, which will be based firmly on a new DWP for East Africa, addressing strategically prioritized areas agreed upon by the ILO on one side and the EAC and the East African social partner organisations on the other side,” said Mr. Chibebe.

Mr. Chibebe said that giving financial assistance to the needy instead of equipping them with vocational skills was akin to creating culture of perpetual dependency.  

Also represented at the two day forum were the East African Trade Unions Confederation (EATUC) and the East African Employers Organisation (EAEO).

Notes to Editors:

EAC and ILO signed a Memorandum of Understanding on 18th January, 2001 in which both parties agreed to consult each other with respect to planning and execution of programmes. The programmes include: pursuit of policies and of employment aimed at creating an environment for the development of the private sector and employment; facilitate labour mobility; harmonisation of labour legislation; promotion of fair labour practices through social dialogue and observance of fundamental principles and rights at work; social security and productivity improvement.

In 2010, the EAC and ILO developed and launched a five year East African Decent Work Programme (EA-DWP 2010-2015) which focused on three areas:

(i)     Youth employment by creating a conducive policy environment for the youth and the self-employed, skills improvement and supporting entrepreneurship activities;

(ii)    The extension of social security through the development of an EAC model social protection and protection of social security rights of migrant workers, and;

(iii)    The enhancement of capacity for social dialogue and building technical capacity for EAC Trade Union Confederation and affiliated national apex bodies on collective bargaining and negotiation skills.


For more information, please contact:

Mr Owora Richard Othieno
Head, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Department
EAC Secretariat
Arusha, Tanzania
Tel: +255 784 835021
Email: OOthieno [at] eachq.org

About the East African Community Secretariat:

The East African Community (EAC) is a regional intergovernmental organisation of five Partner States, comprising Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda, with its headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania. 

The EAC Secretariat is ISO 9001:2008 Certified

East African Community
EAC Close
Afrika Mashariki Road
P.O. Box 1096
United Republic of Tanzania

Tel: +255 (0)27 216 2100
Fax: +255 (0)27 216 2190
Email: eac@eachq.org