OSSREA was invited to a Conference Entitled ‘Moving Africa’s Development and Industrialization Agenda Forward: Trade Unions Alternatives’
Professor Paschal Mihyo, the Executive Director of OSSREA was invited by the African Organization of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC-Africa) to attend their conference on ‘Moving Africa’s Development and Industrialization Agenda Forward: Trade Unions Alternatives’. Professor Mihyo was one of the two keynote speakers and the focus of the presentation was on the role of trade unions in promoting human rights and the decent work agenda and addressed the following:
The historical role played by unions in fighting for the right to organize, engage in collective bargaining and equal pay for equal work; the struggle against forced and child labour and against any forms of discrimination at work.
The role of unions in protecting the enterprise system from self destruction by fighting for health and safety at work; struggling for labour standards and labour inspection; ensuring enterprises pay taxes and comply with legislation etc.
The role of unions in the struggle for decent and dignified pay which started in the 1950s and continues to date with some countries having passed legislation that restrict the payment of starvation wages while some still lag behind.
The recent threats to labour and human rights arising out of neoliberal policies of deregulation and informalization of labour markets; the end of fordism and the return to backward feudalistic labour practices.
Racialization and feminization of the informal labour markets especially in the two cones of Africa (North and Southern Africa)
The violence off development as signified by privatization, commercialization, casualization, land alienation etc, by the so-called developmental state in Africa which has led to massive lay-offs, loss of livelihoods, forcible eviction of peasants from their land without any or adequate compensation; governments taking public assets from the many and selling them to the few and sweetening public enterprises in order to sell them to foreign investors or state bureaucrats and their cronies.
Investment protection that subsidizes investors and suspends regulations on labour rights and decent work allowing the investors to establish systems of economic apartheid in Africa and do things which they cannot do in their own countries.
Best practices of policies that have been put in place in Brazil, Tunisia (before the uprising) and South Africa on social dialogue, enterprise promotion, training schemes for retirees and retrenchees; special public works programmes etc., to stem the tide of impoverishment that can result from the violence of development.
The conclusion was that development is humane and being inclusive is possible and that Europe is a good example of a continent, which has for the last 40 years, attained high levels of growth based on systems and practices that promote inclusive, democratic and humane development.
OSSREA Attends a Scoping Conference on ‘The Links between Social Inclusion and Sustainable Growth in Africa’
Dr Melese Getu Research Specialist at OSSREA was invited by the Knowledge Platform on Development Policies of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands to attend a scoping conference on ‘The Links between Social Inclusion and Sustainable Growth in Africa’ at the Conference Centre in The Hague from 29 October to 31 October 2013.
The Conference was composed of the following six sessions.
1. Can Social Protection Contribute to Growth in SSA?
2. Experiences with Social Protection Programmes and their Growth Impacts
3. Issues in Policy Making
4. Learning from Country Examples: Ethiopia, Mozambique, Ghana and Uganda
5. The Global Debate: South-South Cooperation and OECD Experiences
6. Break-out Groups: Research Gaps and Needs
Dr Melese was given the opportunity to prepare a power point presentation and give a 15 minutes presentation based on OSSREA’s book titled Informal and Formal Social Protection Systems in Sub-Saharan Africa. The presentation highlighted a synthesis of the book and focused on the following outlines:
- Gaps in the literature on social protection in sub-Saharan Africa: a gap has emerged in the conceptualisation & practice of social protection in Africa; Social protection in Africa is increasingly dominated by programmes designed & financed by Western donor agencies; building programmes on ideas and experiences derived from countries outside Africa; although these programmes are often evaluated as effective & successful they rarely take into account the rich history of traditional solidarity mechanisms & indigenous self-help institutions; informal & semi-formal systems and institutions continue to operate alongside ‘modern’ publicly administered social protection programmes; informal and semi-formal systems and institutions complement by meeting specific needs and reaching groups of people that most formal social protection programmes do not reach.
Complementary roles of existing informal and formal social protection systems in the context of the trend towards institutionalizing social protection as a core government responsibility; some of which are relatively neglected or under-researched.
- Challenges this book offers to current thinking and practice: this book calls for the need to focus attention on local or ‘indigenous’ mutual support systems and institutions/ ‘informal’ and ‘semi-formal’ social protection mechanisms which are undervalued or even neglected in the discourse of ‘formal’ social protection policy-making and programming.
Informal social protection; urban social protection; social protection in unstable contexts; climate change; pastoralism and gender; three chapters assess specific social protection instruments: cash transfers, health insurance and education bursaries. The presentation however, focused only on three broad thematic areas covered by the book namely, informal social protection, urban social protection, and gender and social protection; and drew on case studies from Ethiopia, Kenya and Zimbabwe, although several other countries are also covered in the book.
Conclusion: It was stated that informal social protection is pervasive and often the dominant form of social protection in Africa. For the majority of rural people and those engaged in the informal economy, informal social protections are primary lines of protection. There is a need to assess and consider the synergy and complementary roles of informal and formal systems and institutions; and build on ideas and experiences derived (institutions evolved) from within African societies and take into account the rich history of traditional solidarity mechanisms and indigenous self-help institutions.
OSSREA Attends the Africa Portal Content Partners Meeting
OSSREA was represented by Mr. Alemu, the OSSREA ICT Specialist who attended the first Africa Portal Content Partners Meeting from November 10 – November 13, 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa. The Africa Portal is an online knowledge resource for policy-related issues on Africa. An undertaking by the CIGI and the SAIIA, the Africa Portal offers open access to a suite of features including an online library collection; a resource for opinion and analysis; an experts directory; an international events calendar; and a mobile technology component – all aimed to equip users with research and information on Africa’s current policy issues. The Africa Portal Content Partners meeting took place on the 11th of November 2013. The meeting was hosted by SAIIA (South African Institute of International Affairs) and CIGI (Centre for International Governance Innovation). The meeting was attended by 42 participants (ICT and related professionals) who came from 32 content partner organizations based in Africa. The meeting had the following agenda which were covered by representatives of Africa Portal (Renette Collins, Shingi Muzondo, Suzanne Cheery and Som Tsoi) and the floor was open for discussion.
The major theme for discussion was “Development of the Africa Portal and the Africa Initiative to date”:
- How to effectively use the portal library – a refresher training session on its functionality;
- Key role of content partners;
Representing OSSREA as a leading content partner of the Africa Portal, Mr. Alemu raised some of his experiences in using the portal for the past three years. Among the questions raised were:
- The format of statistical usage reports issued to content partners
- User registration features
- Publishing of specific articles instead of journals as books
- Publishing of executive summaries and abstracts
- Editing and updating of the experts directory
Representatives of the Africa Portal addressed most of the queries and promised to make the necessary updates to the portal. Finally after discussing the summary of the discussions closing remarks were made by the head of the SAIIA (Elizabeth Sidiropoulos).
The next day all Africa Portal participants were invited to attend a parallel session on BRICS and AFRICA: A Partnership for Sustainable Development organized by SAIIA and BRICS Policy Centre.
PROF. Nnadozie tasks ACBF beneficiaries to adopt “new business model”
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (January 28, 2014/ACBF) - The Executive Secretary of the African Capacity Building Foundation ACDF), Prof. Emmanuel Nnadozie, has on Tuesday, January 28, informed ACBF Implementing Partners of the changes at the foundation.
Attending his first African Union Summit as Executive Secretary of ACBF Prof. Nnadozie met the Executive Directors of the ACBF-supported Institutions in Ethiopia at the headquarters of the Ethiopian Development Research Institute (EDRI).
Five institutions attended the meeting, namely the host EDRI, the Ethiopian Economic Association (EEA), the Horn Economic and Social Policy Institute (HESPI), the AUC-CAP and the Organization for Social Science Research in Eastern and Southern Africa. (OSSREA).
OSSREA held its 11th Congress in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
OSSREA held its 11th Congress at the Desalegn Hotel from December 9th to 11th 2013 while the conference was held on the 9th and 10th of December 2013 with the theme of OSSREA’s Response to Africa’s Challenges of Change. The conference was opened by Dr Kaba Urgessa, the State Minister of Education for Ethiopia who talked about the challenges of education in the country. The main objective of this conference was to bring together academicians, researchers and policy makers to discuss various topical issues that Africa is dealing with including – climate change, land deals, social protection, unemployment, HIV/AIDs, gender equality, public sector reform, higher education, water resource management, etc. At this conference budding scholars from Eastern and Southern Africa presented the outcomes of their research projects and the books that have been published by international and regional publishers on the issues have been launched to the wider community and OSSREA’s stakeholders.
At the conference a number of good will presentations were made and are listed below:
- Ambassador Dr Samuel Assefa, African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF)
- Madam Nina Sokoine, East African Court of Justice
- Madam Caroline Khamati Mugalla, East African Trade Union Congress (EATUC)
- Madam Alice Sena Lamptey, Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA)
- Mr. Daniel Osiemo, NEPAD (KENYA)
- Dr. Morrison Rwakakamba, President’s Office, Government of Uganda
- Dr Admasu Tsegaye, President Addis Ababa University represented by Dr Gebre Yintso
- Professor Mohammed Salih, University of Rotterdam the Netherlands
- Professor Edward Kirumira, The Nile Basin Research Project (WASO) and Makerere University
- Dr Munzoul Assal, NORHED Project and University of Khartoum
- Ms. Hannak Tsadik, Life and Peace Institute
- Dr Benedicto Kondowe, Malawi Human Rights Commission
- Dr. Steve Kayizzi Mugerwa, African Development Bank (ADB)
After the opening and introductions the OSSREA Secretariat presented a three year comparison report about the activities of OSSREA which included research, publications and finance and administration. The dissemination conference was a golden opportunity where OSSREA presented its publications of the last three years and managed to share the findings with its stakeholders and also produce policy briefs for further dissemination activities.
Photos taken at the Congress
OSSREA conducted a four days interactive refresher course for staff of the Research Wing of the Uganda Parliament. The training was organized to update and expose 10 members of the staff of the Parliament on the process of social science research, especially on quantitative and qualitative data collection, analysis and report writing. Participants were also exposed to the concepts of public policy making, steps in public policy making, and monitoring and evaluation of public policy. The training was held from June 3rd to 7th , 2013 at OSSREA Headquarters, located at St. George Street, Sidist Kilo Campus, Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.