THE Southern African Development Community (Sadc) has adopted a new Labour Migration Action Plan to promote skills transfer and match labour supply and demand for regional integration.
The action plan was adopted through the employment and labour sector in the region and in line with Article 19 of the Sadc Protocol on Employment and Labour.
In a statement released this week, Sadc said the protocol seeks to protect and safeguard the rights and welfare of migrant workers to give them better opportunities to contribute to countries of origin and destination.
“Sadc has adopted a new Labour Migration Action Plan (2020-2025) as part of efforts to promote skills transfer and match labour supply and demand for regional development and integration.”
Sadc executive secretary Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax is on record saying the action plan is an integral part of measures aimed at the progressive elimination of obstacles to the free movement of capital and labour, goods and services, and of the people in the region.
Generally, this is in line with Article 5 of the Sadc Treaty.
Sadc is host to 37,5 percent of Africa’s 14,2 million international migrant workers, according to the 2017 African Union estimates.
Southern African region is also home to the largest stock of international migrant workers of up to 4,2 million, ahead of both East Africa and West Africa, with intra-Sadc migration accounting for about 45 percent.
“Given this background, it is envisaged that implementation of the adopted policy instrument, through a multi-sectoral approach, will contribute to the protection of labour migrants’ rights and give them an opportunity to make a greater developmental impact on both countries of origin and destination,” said Sadc.
Meanwhile, the employment and labour sector also adopted the Sadc Guidelines on Portability of Social Security Benefits to ensure workers moving within the region maintain social security rights and benefits acquired under the jurisdiction of different member States, including pension benefits and occupational injury and diseases benefits.
In her report to the 40th Sadc Summit, Dr Tax also said as part of implementation of the 2016 Sadc Youth Employment Promotion Policy Framework, the secretariat and the International Labour Organisation jointly conducted a study of the youth labour markets within the bloc.
“The study showed that Sadc has a very youthful labour force by international comparison, and that it will continue to remain so, for the coming decades.
“In addition, the study showed that the average youth unemployment rate (15-24 years) in 2017 was approximately 12 percent compared to seven percent average for older persons, thus revealing that youth are more likely to be without a job compared to their older counterparts largely due to lack of work experience.”