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ITUC -Africa To Launch Campaign Against Regional Sovereign Debt Crisis

The  African Regional Organisation of International Trade Union Confederation ( ITUC-AFRICA) in partnerships with civil society Organisation will on November 29th , 2023 launch a  Trade Union-led Campaign to Combat Africa’s Sovereign Debt Crisis.

The event which would be holding at the Safari Hotel, Nairobi Kenya is with the theme ‘theme “Africa’s Sovereign Debt Crisis Post-Independence: Trade Unions’ Locus of Control” 

According to a statement jointly signed by ITUC -Africa chief Economist Dr Hod Anyigba and Deputy General Secretary of ITUC Africa, Comrade Joel Akhator Odigie,said the event marka a  crucial stride towards reshaping Africa’s economic destiny.

The statement further reveled that the project is expected to run between three to five years, shaping the debt sustainability agenda and advocating for inclusive, responsible debt management aligned with Africa’s growth vision.

Statement reads ‘Amidst the complex economic landscape in Africa, a watershed moment approaches. On November 29, 2023, the Safari Park Hotel in Nairobi, Kenya, becomes the epicentre of a transformational event – the launch of the debt campaign led by the African Regional Organization of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC-Africa) and its partners. 

‘This momentous initiative, under the debt campaign launch theme “Africa’s Sovereign Debt Crisis Post-Independence: Trade Unions’ Locus of Control” marks a crucial stride towards reshaping Africa’s economic destiny.

“Africa’s post-independence journey has been marked by arduous attempts to navigate the intricacies of sovereign debt. The continent witnessed numerous debt restructuring programs, notably the Heavily Indebted Poor Country Initiative (HIPC) and the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI). While these initiatives provided temporary respite, most African countries are once again ensnared in a debt crisis, characterized by fiscal inefficiencies, corruption, and global economic tremors predating recent global pandemics and conflicts.

“The statistics are alarming: by 2017, six African countries were already in debt distress, with an additional nine nations teetering on the brink. Shockingly, 19 African countries exceeded the 60% debt-to-GDP threshold, significantly impeding critical sectors such as education, health, and social protection.

‘The repercussions are profound and multifaceted. This crisis has not only jeopardized economic stability but has disproportionately affected workers, the marginalized, and excluded segments of society. Reduced growth prospects, diminished investments in essential sectors, deepened poverty, and exacerbated inequality are its harrowing legacies.

In response, ITUC-Africa will be launching a comprehensive campaign, uniting trade unions and solidarity partners under a singular mission: to reverse Africa’s sovereign debt trend. Anchoring this initiative is the development of an incisive 

‘African Trade Union black paper on debt”. This ground-breaking research unveils the stark realities faced by workers due to the public debt crisis, emphasizing the devaluation of labour and the severe limitations on employment generation, particularly within the formal wage economy. 

The campaign will be launched in collaboration with five other progressive Civil Society Organisation on the continent that are also members of the Stop The Bleeding Consortium – an initiative to halt Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs) activities from Africa to increase internal resource mobilisation possibilities to drive inclusive and shared development.

The campaign’s objectives are resolute: Illuminate African trade unions about the dire implications of debt on workers, their communities, and economies; galvanize a cohesive African Trade Unions’ Debt campaign, underpinned by strategic and organized reactions by workers, their families and communities; contribute to the necessary pressure from the people to cause African governments and creditors to make the needed progressive and inclusive changes to debt procurement, utilisation and management; and establish an empirical foundation for the campaign’s official launch during the 5th Delegates Congress of the ITUC-Africa in Nairobi, Kenya.

‘This historic launch signifies a monumental leap forward: The campaign’s empirical underpinning from the black paper will energize the ITUC-Africa Congress, heralding the initiation of a comprehensive debt sustainability drive. ITUC-Africa aims to strategically engage over the next 3-5 years, shaping the debt sustainability agenda and advocating for inclusive, responsible debt management aligned with Africa’s growth vision.

“The campaign envisions a transformative collaboration between African trade unions and civil society, fostering transparency and accountability in government and creditor practices.

‘The launch at the Safari Park Hotel in Nairobi on November 29, 2023, is not just an event – 

it’s a clarion call for change, resilience, and a future where workers’ rights and economic stability harmoniously coexist. It represents Africa’s firm stance in steering its destiny towards sustainable debt management.


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