ACCRA (ILO News) – ILO Director-General Gilbert F. Houngbo launched a new project in Ghana that will support workers and employers to raise their productivity and improve working conditions in the textiles & garments and shea sectors.
The launch, attended by Ghana’s Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, Ignatius Baffour Awuah, and other social partners, took place during a during a visit by the Director-General to the country.
The "Productivity Ecosystems for Decent Work" project addresses Ghana’s main economic challenges, such as low productivity, low competitiveness, and a lack of decent work opportunities for its citizens. It will work with various stakeholders, including the government, unions, private sector, and civil society, to upgrade production processes, help firms to transit from informality to formality, train workers and entrepreneurs in more advanced technical skills and ensure that environmental and social standards are adhered to.
“Productivity growth is critical for the sustainability of local businesses. With increased productivity, businesses can produce more with fewer resources, enabling them to remain competitive and thrive in the market,” said the ILO Director-General. “Productivity growth is a crucial factor in determining the standard of living and wages of individuals. It is a pre-requisite for and a result of decent work and social justice. We need new approaches to create a virtuous cycle between productivity growth and the creation of decent jobs."
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The Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, Ignatius Baffour Awuah welcomed the project as it comes at an "opportune time to contribute to reviving and strengthening enterprises in critical sectors of Ghana’s economy. I am excited that the project is focussed on improving the working conditions of the textiles, garments and shea industries. These sectors have the potential to accelerate growth in the industrial sector and the economy as a whole by boosting employment creation and local economic development within the entire supply value chain."
The Productivity Ecosystems for Decent Work Programme is a global ILO Programme funded by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) and the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD).
“Supporting productivity growth is part of Switzerland’s economic development cooperation with Ghana. It will be critical for local businesses to access supply chains and international markets and to achieve a more sustainable and inclusive economic growth,” said the Swiss Ambassador Simone Giger at the event. The Norwegian Deputy Ambassador Kyrre Holm voiced his support for the project’s focus on sectors that employ predominantly women. “Women’s participation in the labour market matters, for its own sake but also for the country’s productivity growth. When women have equal opportunities as men, they are more likely to participate in productive employment."
The ILO Director-General is travelling to Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire on official mission together with a delegation from the German Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and the Ministry of Development Cooperation and their respective Ministers Hubertus Heil and Svenja Schulze.