4th UNI Africa Regional Conference: Forward for a New Africa
More than five hundred union leaders from across Africa and beyond are gathering in Dakar, Senegal this week for the 4th UNI Africa Conference.
The main conference will be opened on Thursday, 23 March at 16:00 by a high level representative from the Senegalese government. The programme runs until Saturday, 25 March under the theme ‘Forward for a New Africa: Mobilise, Organise, Innovate’. The conference will address the challenges and opportunities of the Future World of Work for the African continent.
A number of top leaders will address the meeting, including Nobel Peace Prize winner, Houcine Abassi, one of the members of the Tunisian Quartet who received the award in 2015 for nurturing a peaceful transition after the Arab Spring. The heads of all UNI’s African affiliates are taking part as well as keynote speakers from further afield including Professor Mark Graham from the Oxford Internet Institute who will focus on Africa’s digital future and the changing work landscape in Africa. Africa’s population is expected to double in the next 20 years up to 2 billion people, with the number of young people rising from 452 million to 1.2 billion, and the creation of new middle class of around 300 million drawn to new mega-cities. The number of multinationals operating in Africa is also expected to grow many fold, some from within Africa, others from outside, including the continued influence of China.
The conference will address the important role of unions in this Brave New Digital World in creating material difference for workers. UNI’s sectors, including Post and Logistics and Commerce who signed global agreements with GeoPost and Auchan respectively last week, are holding meetings in the run up to conference. The importance of Youth and Women to the future of Africa are also underlined by the separate meetings also being held this week by UNI in Dakar this week.
UNI Africa, and the entire UNI Global Union family will also not forget the past, and Africa’s unique historical struggle. On Thursday, 23 March, a delegation from UNI Global Union and UNI Africa will travel to Gorée Island off the most Western point of Africa, and visit the ‘House of Slaves’ with its ‘Door of No Return` , a memorial to the Atlantic slave trade. UNI will unveil a plaque to join those of others who will not let the human toll of African slavery be forgotten.