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ILO chief warns of rising inequality impeding inclusive growth

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ILO Director-General Guy Ryder

The Director-General of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), Guy Ryder has warned that high and rising levels of inequality are impeding inclusive and sustainable development.

He disclosed that in Africa, working poverty is forecast to stall at 24 per cent of the workforce between 2017 and 2019, with numbers rising from 104 to 110 million while Asia and the Pacific’s share will drop only marginally from 16 to 15 per cent and the number of workers in poverty will still be close to 300 million by 2019.

The slowdown in progress, he said, threatens not only workers’ individual well-being, but also the global ambition to eradicate poverty by 2030.

Currently, the ILO estimated that 67 million young women and men are unemployed globally, and around 145 million young workers in emerging and developing countries live in extreme or moderate poverty.

To tackle these rising challenges, the ILO boss said new policies are required to foster decent jobs for youth in an era of rapid technical change.

Ryder who disclosed this in his address to the Spring Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank held at the United States of America, called for a focus on decent work to confront the challenges of demography, technology, and climate change, disclosing that global unemployment rate is expected to fall slightly during 2017-2019 (after a three-year rise).

He explained that the rebound in economic growth has strengthened job creation, but the labour market recovery is uneven across country groupings.

As stated by Ryder, after hitting a six-year low in 2016, global economic growth rebounded in 2017 and is expected to further strengthen over the next couple of years.

“The pick-up in global economic prospects is expected to be accompanied by stronger job creation, with the global unemployment rate falling from 5.6 per cent in 2017 to 5.5 per cent in 2018 (193 million persons). This marks a turnaround after three years of rising unemployment rates. However, because population growth is expected to outstrip employment growth, the number of unemployed people is projected to increase by 1.3 million in 2019,” he said.

Meanwhile, in developing and emerging countries, the unemployment rate is projected to remain relatively stable and numbers of unemployed are likely to continue rising in the years to 2019. Actions by all stakeholders are essential to limit global warming and ensure a “just transition”.

He stressed that with appropriate mitigating actions, the world will enjoy a net positive effect on the quantity and quality of jobs.

The ILO estimated that key actions, including the adoption of sustainable practices in the energy sector including changes in the energy mix, promoting the use of electric vehicles and improving the energy efficiency of buildings among others, will create 24 million new jobs globally by 2030, offsetting job loss in carbon intensive industries.

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