OTUWA tasks ECOWAS member states on social protection 

The Organisation of Trade Unions In West Africa (OTUWA) has tasked Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) member countries to invest in strengthening social protection for her citizens .

OTUWA Deputy President Comrade Sophie Kourouma made the call at a two-day sub- regional workshop organised by  OTUWA and Danish Trade Union Development Agency (DTDA)  in developing training and campaign materials for trade unions and CSOs in West Africa .

She said the organisation had commenced action to develop training and campaign materials for the purpose of equipping trade unions and CSOs in the region.

Kourouma said the issue of Social Protection had been a recurring matter of great importance to the UN and its specialized agencies like the International Labour Organization (ILO), United Nation Children Fund (UNICEF), the United Nation Development Programme (UNDP) and the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO).

Kourouma added that the quest for Universal Social Protection assumed a very prominent front row with the COVID-19 global pandemic, which, she said,  threw the entire world out of its strides.

“This workshop is devoted to the twin issues of developing training and campaign materials that will eventually result in a manual for use by trade unions and civil society organizations in the sub-regions.

“To discuss and agree on the content and form of a training manual on Universal Social Protection in West Africa,” she said.

Also speaking , ECOWAS Commissioner for Human Development and Social Affairs Prof. Fatou Sow Sarr  said “the promotion of Social Protection and its importance in the achievement of the SDGs.”

He said it “targets 1.3 of the SDGs which calls for the implementation of nationally appropriate social protection systems and measures for all by 2030 to ensure substantial coverage of the poor and vulnerable, must be an objective and a commitment for all of us.

“Available data on the population receiving at least one cash benefit under social protection (SDG 1.3.1) indicates that West Africa, with 13%, is the lowest region compared with the other regions of Africa, with a continental average of 18%.

” It is also important not to lose sight of the lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic, which highlighted the persistent  inequalities and major gaps that remain in our countries in terms of the coverage, comprehensiveness and adequacy of social protection to the needs of our populations.”