ITUC-Africa calls for dialogue with financing agencies - Over sovereign debt crisis
The African Regional Organisation of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC- Africa), has urged local, national, continental and international development financing agencies to engage with trade unions across Africa in meaningful dialogues to enhance sustainable and people-first responses to the continent’s sovereign debt crisis.
This, it said, would not only prevent the recurring cycle of debt crises in the future, but would also reshape the politics of debts which skew the imbalance of power against developing economies.
The situation, the ITUC-Africa maintained, often forced the financing agencies to adopt austerity measures which had continued to exert adverse effects on workers’ rights, shrink civil liberty spaces and compromise the environment.
A statement signed by the General Secretary of the ITUC-Africa, Kwasi Adu-Amankwah, stressed, “We resolve to redouble our efforts to find solutions to the debt crisis currently facing Africa and around the world, including strengthening our calls for the international community to provide timely and sufficient debt relief to countries facing unsustainable debt burdens and for comprehensive reform for an international debt architecture.”
ITUC-Africa, a pan-African trade union organisation, was formed in November 2007 following the merger of two former African trade union organisations, namely ICFTU-Afro and DOAWTU.
The statement came after representatives of trade unions from across Africa convened in Dakar, Senegal, for a continental workshop on sovereign debt.It was organised jointly by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) and the African Regional Organisation of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC-Africa).
It provided a platform for fostering collaboration, knowledge sharing and strategic planning to address the pressing challenges posed by sovereign debt on the continent, especially in terms of how the negative impacts of debt affect workers, members of their families, communities and economies.
New social contract
The statement further said the trade unions would continue to advance the implementation of the “New Social Contract” which includes just transition, employment creation, rights at work, social protection, social dialogue and women empowerment of the International Trade Union Movement, which, if effectively implemented, would contribute to addressing the social, economic, political and environmental development deficits.
The partners also vowed to continue their resistance against the harsh austerity conditions imposed in response to debt crises across Africa.
“We are resolved to use research, education (capacity building) and analysis to deepen our advocacy for inclusive, responsive, responsible and efficient debt contracting arrangements and management that work for all.
To advocate for transparency and accountability from both governments and creditors,” the statement stressed.
The partners pledged to build synergies, collaborations and partnerships with progressive African Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to advance pragmatic alternatives to the African debt crisis, while exploring and utilising solidarity engagements with trade union counterparts and CSOs in the global north to ensure people-centred arrangement for debt management.
They said they would link their Illicit Financial Flows (Tax Justice – payment of fair tax share and progressive tax arrangements) campaign with debt as part of their resolve to continue contributing to and ensuring a secured fiscal space to drive their development aspirations.
“We reiterate our commitment to pursuing a continental sovereign debt campaign which will be launched on the sideline of the 5ᵗʰ Delegates Congress of ITUC-Africa in November 2023 in Nairobi, Kenya,” the statement added.