Africa gives more than it receives – AFL-CIO Vice President

By Helen Shok Jok, Abuja

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Africa gives more to the wealthy countries of the World than it receives in credit or aid.

The Executive Vice President of the American Federation of Labour, Congress of Industrial Organisations AFL-CIO, Mr Tefere Gebre said this in Abuja at the just concluded 4th Ordinary Congress of the International Trade Union Confederation, ITUC-Africa.

He said; “Africa does not benefit from the true value of its resources insisting that trade agreements are skewed in favour of the wealthy countries while multinational companies are looking to make deals to pay little or no taxes, to pay much less than a living wage, and forcing the nations of Africa to compete against each other for lowest prices on goods and the lowest wages.”

“If the current trends continues, the World Bank notes in a recent report that Africa will host 90% of the people in the world living below poverty levels ($1.90/day, $42/month). Africa currently is home to just over 50%.
 
“There should be no poverty on the continent of Africa. The continent needs living wages, decent work, and dignity. The wealth is here to accomplish all of that. And it is only the African trade union movement that will make that happen,” Mr Gebre said.

He said that organised labour has the power and the capacity to create a future for African workers that guarantees good quality of life, expanding opportunities, and genuine human centered economic development.

“There is no one else. It is entirely up to you. And the American trade union movement understands this, and is with you”, he said.

Acknowledging that the forces oppressing workers are daunting, Mr Gebre stressed that the trade union movement has always been up to the task and the AFL-CIO has an unrelenting pursuit of solidarity as the key to winning globally.

“The US trade union movement stands with you for decent wages, against exploitation of migrant workers and labor trafficking or any sort. We will stand with you for genuine economic development that improves the lives of workers and their families,” he promised.

In an interview with Journalists, the Executive Vice President called on governments of Africa to be wary of investors who want to bring investments in their countries, saying that if such investments will not benefit the workers of the countries, then it might not be worth venturing into.

“If we all unite as countries in Africa, and we have a standard, corporations have to live up to that standard because they don’t invest in your countries because they care about your countries, they invest in your countries because they want to profit from your countries,” he stated.

The America Federation of Labour and Congress of Industrial Organisations, founded on the 4th of December 1955, is the largest Federation of unions in the United States with over 55 national and international unions.

It represents more than 12 million active and retired workers.

 

Mercy Chukwudiebere