Presentation on theme: "Second Congress of African Economists, Abidjan, Cote d’ Ivoire November 24-26, 2011 Olivia Muza Consultant Employment policy, global crisis, climate change."— Presentation transcript:
Second Congress of African Economists, Abidjan, Cote d’ Ivoire November 24-26, 2011 Olivia Muza Consultant Employment policy, global crisis, climate change and poverty: Africa’s conundrum of competing dimensions, dynamics and priorities?
Introduction Exactly which unsolved challenges are holding back real growth ? High government and fiscal expenditure Disease/ HIV/AIDS Unemployment Global economic and financial crisis Climate change Poverty Endemic poverty Hunger Higher prevalence of disease Chronic conflicts Low levels of development Low adaptive capacity “Solve these first to lift the veil behind which the future lies hidden” [David Hilbert, 1900]
Background Since the crisis began in 2007, the global economy unwell Deep and multi-dimensional crisis: economic, financial, environmental, food and energy US-financial crisis which turned into an economic crisis Developing countries-economic downturn which turned into a financial crisis Most solutions focused mainly on bank bailouts, slashing interest rates, injecting liquidity Financial interventions alone are not the magic elixir Markets are interconnected, intertwined, interdependent and dependent What are the competing dimensions, dynamics, priorities, choices and options? Is it possible to reconcile the competing paradigms? What are the areas of divergence and convergence respectively?
Global trends: emerging and frontline issues How is the world doing? Rich countries- Recovery from recession is proceeding disappointingly Developing countries- growing briskly, but face tough transitions of their own A 5.7% growth recorded in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2011 raises a cloud of hope UN report on MDGs shows that progress has been made toward the 2015 achievement, despite the crisis Yet, a slack labour market exist: high unemployment The crisis of our times is the employment crisis Slower growth and job creation implies lower tax revenues, more unemployment and health benefits and a larger deficit
Unemployment and vulnerability in a crisis context Between 210 and 239 million people are without jobs [Global Employment Trends Report] 620 million workers lived with their families in extreme poverty before the crisis Out of employment implies that the workforce lose the talent, skills and work habits Lost generation of workers, lost to their country, their communities and their families Remittances and foreign direct investment Reverse migration Reduced labour mobility International relations
Climate variability and vulnerability in labour markets Dependence and reliance on activities that are vulnerable to climate shocks i.e. agriculture and tourism Undermining the livelihoods of millions in developing countries especially the poorest Climate change threatens to stall or reverse development gains made over the last several decades Climate migrants, conflicts over scarce resources Developed countries emitted most of the gases that are warming the planet- China recently passed the US as the top overall green house gas [GHG] emitters By 2030, International Energy Agency [IEA] speculates that 90% of carbon dioxide emissions will come from the developing world Disappointing enough the late-year 2010 conference in Cancun, did far too little to solve climate change itself Furthermore, no binding treaty on reducing greenhouse emissions and institutional action plan was established
Rising prices and Africa’s structural problems Reduction in the consumption basket Poor devote half of their spending on food Endemic poverty Hunger Higher prevalence of disease Chronic conflicts Low levels of development Low adaptive capacity
A gendered optical lens in the context of climate change, global crisis and poverty Gender differentiated impact: rural employment-which crops women produce, ability to adapt and respond e.g. Kenya and Zimbabwe, work burden, uncertainty and inability to respond to higher food prices Men in construction industries will also suffer Women eating least and last Female farmers ability to respond to effective coping strategies are limited compared to male farmers Restricted access to productive assets, technology, knowledge and inputs Large farmer responses of increasing informal employment and use of pesticides in response affect paid employment opportunities Negative employment effects on female-intensive non-traditional agricultural export industries Increase in female unpaid workload High demand for educated and qualified workers through promoting environmentally sound technologies Linkage between employment, poverty and gender inequality either means ‘Distress sale of labour [Elson, 1999]’ or ‘Poverty status of the household’
Africa’s epochal development, next generation warfare and recommendations for policy
Conclusions Leave out ideology, orthodoxy and embrace creativity, flexibility and pragmatism Transition from slack to tight labour conditions Move away from crisis response to engaging dilemmas‘, head on strategies Help build a shared regional knowledge base on new priories and sustainability issues