West Africa   Reinforcing social dialogue

West Africa Reinforcing social dialogue

Jos van Erp Deputy Director and Country Manager View profile

Social dialogue is a process which in the West African French speaking countries generally is perceived as an effective method to achieve agreements, both between employers and employees (bipartite) as with governments (tripartite).

Based on the needs of employers’ organisations in the region, DECP started a process of training to support further development of social dialogue in different countries. The first training on ‘social dialogue’ and ‘lobbying and advocacy’ took place the first week of April in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. This start can be seen as a pilot for the region in which currently participate Mali, Benin, Togo, Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast. The Ivorian employers’ organisation CGECI hosted the training.

The official opening ceremony was done by the Executive Director of CGECI, Mr. AKA Anghui Stéphane, the Dutch ambassador in Ivory Coast, Mr. Robert van den Dool and DECP country manager Jos van Erp.

All five countries already implement some elements of social dialogue methodology in their current strategy, but more understanding of methods and tools is necessary to accelerate and reinforce these processes. The participants, among whom executive directors and some (vice-)presidents, highly appreciated the training, including the opportunity to exchange experiences with their neighbouring countries. Only limited attention could be paid to the aspects of ‘lobbying and advocacy’ due to the complexity and wide range of issues which were discussed with regards to ‘social dialogue’. That is why ‘lobbying and advocacy’ will be the main issue of one of next meetings.

Follow up of this continuing process will be in September; a training on negotiation skills will be prepared. Next meeting -to be organised soon in 2020- will focus on lobbying and advocacy.