The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has stressed the need for Sub-Saharan African countries to fully adopt employment policies.
According to the organization’s 2014 Human Development Report (HDR), 77 percent of the population in Africa are considered to be in vulnerable employment.
It noted that paying special attention to the quality and security of the jobs was critical.
‘Creating decent employment opportunities is critical to achieving substantive poverty reduction and social cohesion,’ it stated.
The 2014 HDR titled, ‘ Sustaining Human Progress: Reducing Vulnerabilities and Building Resilience ,’ urged African countries to move from agriculture-based economies into industry and services while supporting investments in infrastructure and education so that ‘modern formal employment gradually incorporates most of the workforce.’
Further, it suggested stronger social protection schemes such as unemployment insurance and pensions, universal health coverage and cash transfers to help individuals and communities withstand difficult times and invest in the future.
‘For instance, South Africa’s Child Support Grant contributed to reducing the poverty rate among children while in Mozambique progressive laws have given poor communities increased access to land,’ it noted.
The Report showed that between 2000 and 2013, Sub-Saharan Africa had the second highest rate of progress in the Human Development Index (HDI), which combines achievements in income, health and education.
It however called for the intensification of the fight against deprivation and prevention of crises from setting back recent development.
In spite of the progress, Sub-Saharan Africa is the most unequal region in the world, according to UNDP’s Coefficient on Human Inequality.
Abdoulaye Mar Dieye, Director of UNDP’s Regional Bureau for Africa said: ‘Withstanding crises and protecting the most vulnerable, who are the most affected, are key to ensuring development progress is sustainable and inclusive.’
The Report noted that preventing shocks and promoting opportunities for all, especially for the most vulnerable, can effectively build resilience.
‘The eradication of poverty is not just about ‘getting to zero’—it is also about staying there,’ the Administrator of UNDP, Helen Clark, pointed out in the foreword, adding that the Report’s focus on resilience is highly relevant to current discussions on the post-2015
global development agenda.
By Jamila Akweley Okertchiri
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