DECP recognizes the importance of the West African region in its five year programme based on the Theory of Change. Therefore, not only the employers’ organisations of large French speaking countries are contacted to cooperate but smaller ones as well. Two DECP special advisors have undertaken a mission to Bénin and Togo last August. The management of DECP and of the employers’ organisations of both countries had met several times before at the yearly ILO conference in Geneva. So, a lot of information had already been exchanged. But a visit on site brings important issues really to life.
Discussions took place with several staff members. It became clear that in both countries the employers’ organisation really is the voice of business. Interaction with decision making politicians are frequent and the needs of companies and economic sectors are transferred one on one. At the same time, a lot of issues can still be improved. Like increasing the number of active members in order to secure long term developments of the employers’ organisations, developing services for members and improving social dialogue.
The DECP special advisors were inspired by the actions taken by the staff and boards of both employers’ organisations. For example in the field of lobbying and advocacy and skills development. Both employers’ organisations expressed the issues they want to share with DECP as from 2019 in order to strengthen their capacity. Next steps are to work them out in detail and start cooperation with concrete actions. On the short term a visit will be paid to several other countries in the region. This allows DECP to set-up concrete sub-regional actions in which several -if not all -countries participate. Simultaneously, country specific needs will be identified and support actions will be defined in the short term.
Both the management of the employers’ organisations and the DECP advisors are excited about follow-up activities and are looking forward to scale up the cooperation. To be continued!