Arnout de Koster

Arnout de Koster

Country manager

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“It is encouraging to see progress at different levels”

'Employers' organisations are a key driving force to create a good business environment, to allow companies to grow and create wealth and employment. They are a must in developing countries. A strong voice of private business is needed  to act as a countervailing power in societies where democracy is weaker and where policies for sustainable growth are often under pressure from governments and other layers in society. Uniting companies under a common flag, and where possible also cooperating with trade unions, offers a platform and a means to bring the developing countries on a path of sustainable development, which delivers the goods so much needed for so many: skills, decent work and poverty reduction.

I am Country Manager for Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi and Ghana.

I worked after my studies (Ph.D Labour Law and M.Sc in Industrial Relations) on a constant basis for employers' organisations, as Director Social Affairs in the Belgian Employers' Confederation (VBO-FEB) and  later on at international level for the Employers' department at the ILO.

Core competencies: organisational development, social dialogue, skills and employment policies.

Having worked now for about 15 years in developing countries in Africa and Asia, it is encouraging to see progress at different levels. Organisationally, employers' organisations become more representative, knowledgeable and self conscious about their role. From a policy perspective, the intensity and quality of policy interventions become more sophisticated and powerful .

However, this positive development needs strong further boosting; the challenges their constituents and their countries face are huge. Working as DECP advisor for employers' organisations helps. At least, I think and I hope so. I am convinced that our expertise input, our trainings to promote experience sharing in and with the partner countries representatives, and our capacity to show avenues for more innovation and quality services all create real added value. And there is more. Seeing leaders and young staff of our partners developing themselves with enthusiasm in their jobs, and constantly improving their strengths, is very satisfying. It creates real partnerships, based upon respect, common actions and friendship.'