13th AFRICA & ARAB COUNTRIES REGIONAL CONFERENCE

13th AFRICA & ARAB COUNTRIES REGIONAL CONFERENCE

Tuesday, November 12, 2019
9:00 AM - 12:30 PM Sub-regional Advisory Committee meetings (SUBRACs)

All participants are invited to attend the Sub-regional Advisory Committee (SUBRAC) for their sub-region. If you have not already registered, please indicate which SUBRAC you will be attending on your registration form.

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9:00 AM - 12:30 PM SUBRAC - English-speaking Africa (ESA)
Hotel Le Bénin, Salle Dapaong

All participants are invited to attend the Sub-regional Advisory Committee (SUBRAC) for their sub-region.

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9:00 AM - 12:30 PM SUBRAC - French-speaking Africa (FSA)
Hotel Le Bénin, Salle Kpalimé
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9:00 AM - 12:30 PM SUBRAC - Arab countries (AC)
Hotel Le Bénin, Salle Pya
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9:00 AM - 12:30 PM SUBRAC - Southern Africa (SA)
Hotel Sarakawa, Salle Gabite
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6:00 PM - 8:00 PM AFRECON Registration
Hotel 2 Février, Salle Concorde

Registration for all AFRECON participants.

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Wednesday, November 13, 2019
8:00 AM - 12:00 PM AFRECON Registration
Hotel 2 Février, Salle Concorde

Registration for all AFRECON participants.

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9:00 AM - 1:00 PM Women's seminar
Hotel 2 Février, Salle Concorde

“Fighting gender-based violence through women’s engagement”

All women delegates and observers are invited.

Gender Based Violence is a global crisis that requires a systemic response. PSI has been active in the struggle, along with other trade unions and women’s organisations, in pushing for an international instrument to address GBV at the workplace. As part of this campaign, PSI held workshops with our affiliates on the draft proposals for a new convention and recommendation on ‘Ending Violence and Harassment in the World of Work’ by the International Labour Organisation and urged affiliates to ensure their countries made submissions and were in support of the Convention.

After years of struggle, the June 2019 International Labour Conference took the historic decision to adopt a new Convention (C190) and Recommendation (260) on ‘Ending Violence and Harassment in the World of Work’. This is a victory for women and important step forward in addressing gender-based violence as a systemic level issue.

The everyday violence and harassment women face within the workplace includes economic and financial abuse, physical abuse, sexual violence and assault, sexual harassment, verbal and sexist abuse, intimidation, bullying, coercion, psychological abuse.

Panel 1 - ILO Convention 190 on Violence and Harassment in the World of Work
Discussion of the potential and limitations of the new convention

Speakers:

  • Najwa Hanna, PSI Acting Sub-regional Secretary (Lebanon): C190, potential and limitations of the new convention
  • Sandra van Niekerke, PSIRU: Results of the research on GBV and C190 related legislation in Africa and Arab countries
  • Moderator: Elisabeth Mbo Bikim, WOC Titular for French-speaking Africa

Panel 2 - Gender-mainstreaming inside PSI Africa and Arab countries

Speakers: 

  • Irene Khumalo, PSI WOC Chair: Presentation of the survey results
  • Randa Al-Khaldi, Women’s Committee President of General
    Union of Medical and Pharmaceutical Services, Jordan
  • Moderator: Melder Ogutu, WOC Titular for English-speaking Africa


Panel 3 - Activate trade unions on GBV at the workplace through the ILO convention

Speakers:

  • Martha Morris, National Health Workers’ Union Liberia (NAHWUL): TU actions on sexual harassment in Liberia
  • Lerato Innocentia Gova, President of Young Nurses Indaba Trade Union (YNITU), South Africa: National movement for ratification C190

Sub regional group discussions: Challenges for ratification and alternative ways of implementation in the African and Arab region

  • Plenary: Presentation of sub-regional group reports
  • Moderator: Samira Hizaoui, WOC Titular for Arab countries

You can download the full concept note and draft agenda on our website.

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9:00 AM - 1:00 PM Young Workers' caucus
Hotel 2 Février, Salle Kamou

All young workers are invited.

The role of young workers in defence of quality public services (QPS) in Africa

During this important event, it was emphasized that involving young workers in the labour movement would be key to the fight to ensure People of Profit in the world of work. Young workers are essential in our fight to bring change in the region, both in the union movement and in society at large. Pursuing these objectives face challenges.

Unemployment is on the rise while corporations seek more profit over well-being of people. The level of growth and development capital has enjoyed does not commensurate with the number of jobs created and development in the public sector. While unemployment keeps young people out of reach of unions, rising austerity measures have led to higher costs of living and inequality. Privatization of public services has considerably weakened the state’s ability to provide quality services to all as companies are motivated by profit and not principles of equality or dignity. This situation is worsened by the rapid rise in precarious forms of employment such as casualisation, where workers have no job security, low wages and often are not unionised.

The objectives of this session are to reflect on the PSI Regional Program of Action and proffer a Young Workers’ perspective; highlight the importance of having young workers actively involved in trade unions organisations...

Speakers

  • Daniel Oberko, PSI African Tax Organiser (Ghana)
  • Fatou Diouf, PSI Project Coordinator for French-speaking Africa (Togo)
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1:00 PM - 2:00 PM Lunch break
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2:00 PM - 6:30 PM AFRECON DAY 1
AFRECON
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2:00 PM - 3:30 PM AFRECON Opening Ceremony
Hotel 2 Février, Salle Concorde
AFRECON
  • National anthem of Togo
  • Workers solidarity song “Solidarity for Ever”
  • Welcome speech by one of the Co-Chairs of the Conference, representing PSI affiliates in Togo
  • Opening statement by Peters Adeyemi, PSI AF Vice-President for Africa & Arab Countries
  • Address by Rosa Pavanelli, PSI General Secretary
  • Video address by Dave Prentis, PSI President
  • Cultural performance by Soleil d’Afrique
  • Opening of the Conference by the Minister of Labour and Home Affairs, Togo
  • Vote of thanks by Togolese affiliates
  • Photo shoot with all Conference participants.
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3:30 PM - 4:00 PM Tea/Coffee break
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4:00 PM - 5:00 PM Plenary 1 - AFRECON Opening
Hotel 2 Février, Salle Concorde
AFRECON
  • Election of the Credentials Committee and adoption of the Credentials Committee’s Report
  • Election of the Standing Orders Committee and adoption of Standing Orders
  • Election of Tellers
  • Election of Election Officers
  • Election of the AFRECON Co-Chairs
  • Presentation and adoption of the Conference agenda (by the AF Vice-Presidents)
  • Secretariat Announcements
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5:00 PM - 6:30 PM Panel 1 - Trade Union Rights violations
Hotel 2 Février, Salle Concorde
AFRECON

Panel 1 - Trade Union Rights violations in Africa and Arab Region and the lessons learned

Trade union rights, the rights to freedom of association, collective bargaining and the right to strike are vital to improving the lives of workers. Defending these rights is prerequisite to enable trade unions protect and improve their members’ wages, benefits, job security, equality and health and safety at work, particularly through collective bargaining.

The objective of this session is to highlight the importance of trade union rights as a driver to social and economic justice and allowing trade unions to protect and advance the interests of its members in the workplace.

According to national and regional contexts, the moderator and the panellists for this session will use the discussion to provide an overview about the context and the situation of trade union rights at the national level and the challenges faced by the workers. 

  • Speaker: Akhator Joel Odigie, International Trade Union Confederation (Togo) 
  • Panelists:
    Deemi Toelehr Dearzrua, National Health Workers Union (Liberia), 
    Rasha Mohammed Ahmad, Real estate Taxes authority (Egypt) 
  • Moderator: Evelyn Diniwe Dembetembe, Civil Service Employees’ Association (Zimbabwe) 
  • Questions/Answers
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Thursday, November 14, 2019
7:00 PM - 10:00 PM Solidarity Dinner
Centre Aéré BCEAO

Dinner for all delegates (hosted by Togolese affiliates)

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9:00 PM - 5:30 PM AFRECON DAY 2
AFRECON
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9:00 AM - 10:30 AM Panel 2 - Global Campaigns
Hotel 2 Février, Salle Concorde
AFRECON

Panel 2 - “The Role of Trade Unions in Global Campaigns”

Globalisation, technological advancements and the financialisaton of the economy have radically altered the labour market, and the way in which work is done. We have witnessed multinational corporations expand and move their factories and production of goods to countries with poor labour laws and labour practice, and where productions costs are minimal. We have also seen the mechanisation of production and of labour, directly impacting the jobs and livelihoods of workers. Precarious work is now a dominant feature of the global labour market and is the ‘new normal’.

Using national and regional cases, the presenter and panel members for this session will use the discussion to provide a global context to the challenges of workers including issues such as privatisation, climate change, discrimination against women, tax justice, migration etc.; to reflect on where our strengths and weakness as trade unions lie and to highlight some of the campaigns – that address global issues - in the region and to reflect on the challenges and success that unions have faced.

  • Speaker: Ayuba Philibus Wabba, Nigeria Labour Congress (Nigeria)
  • Panelist: Richard Darko Amparbeng, Public Services Workers Union (Ghana),
  • Panelist: Ladi Iliya, Non-Academic Staff Union of Education and Associated Institutions (Nigeria)
  • Moderator: Jean-Marie Ndi, Fédération Syndicale des Employés de la Santé, Pharmacies & Assimilés (Cameroon)
  • Questions/Answers
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10:30 AM - 11:00 AM Tea/Coffee break
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11:00 AM - 12:30 PM Plenary 2 - Public Services over Corporate Greed
Hotel 2 Février, Salle Concorde
AFRECON
  • Kwasi Adu-Amankwah, General Secretary of ITUC-Africa
  • Rosa Pavanelli, PSI General Secretary
  • Peters Adeyemi, Non-Academic Staff Union of Education and Associated Institutions (Nigeria)
  • Discussion
  • Solidarity Messages
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12:30 PM - 1:30 PM Lunch break
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1:30 PM - 3:00 PM Workshop 1 - Debt & Tax incentives
Hotel 2 Février, Salle Concorde
AFRECON

Parallel Workshop 1 - Addressing concerns of debt and tax incentives in the Special Economic Zones (SEZs)

In previous workshops in Ghana and Nigeria, in 2018, affiliates and their partners developed a campaign strategy. Among the issues raised was the role of tax incentives in fostering illicit financial flows. Tackling tax incentives was chosen as a prioritized issue for the campaign. For the two countries, affiliates agreed that, governments have used Special Economic Zones (SEZ) or Export Processing Zones (EPZ) to create tax havens in countries. An article in the Economist on 18th August 2017 quotes: “Special Economic Zones are popping up like volcanic islands, forming a low-tax archipelago that stretches across the continent. In Ghana, a single factory can be declared a “free zone”, which entitles it to a ten-year tax holiday and exemptions on import duties”.

Governments over the years have touted the idea of special economic zones or export processing zones, as an economic module that can help them attract foreign direct investment, create jobs and expedite economic growth. For example, a World Bank report, in 2012, on the Nigeria Special Economic Zone, indicate that when the Lekki Free Trade Zone is completed, an estimated 100,000 jobs would be created once the project is fully occupied and operational. The Ghana Free Zones Board, in 2018, reported that in the first nine months of the year, 11,948 jobs were created in addition to the more than 40,000 jobs already created. These glorious stories are never with concerns and controversies due to the kind of incentives that are used to woo national and multinational companies to operate in the zones, the cost and opportunity cost to government in setting up these enclaves, the kind of jobs, general working conditions and the rights of workers.

The objectives of the workshop are to discuss some of the findings and the recommendations from research reports conducted in Ghana and Nigeria on the SEZ or EPZs; to launch the final report of the research work; to set the targets for the next phase of the tax justice campaign in Ghana and Nigeria by focusing on actions around tax incentives.

  • Speakers:
    Bernard Adjei, Public Services Workers Union (Ghana)
    Daniel Bertossa, Assistant General Secretary (PSI)
  • Panellists:
    Rashid Mtima
    , TALGWU (Tanzania)
    Okry Akoto Vicentia
    , SYNATRIB (Benin)
  • Moderator: Rumbie Matare, PRO-TECH (Zimbabwe)
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1:30 PM - 3:00 PM Workshop 2 - Migration
Hotel 2 Février, Salle Keran
AFRECON

Parallel workshop 2: Migration, Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons

Defending the human rights of migrants, refugees & internally displaced persons (IDPs) and their access to quality public services

Displacement within and from Africa is a major feature of the region, driven by conflicts, violence and climate-related disasters. Africa and the Arab countries have the largest number of forced displacements in the world. Nine of the twenty-four countries with the highest rate of displacement are in Africa, with most of the refugees and asylum-seekers being hosted by neighbouring countries within the region.

PSI believes that all migrants, refugees and IDPs have the right to decent work and social protection. They should have full access to public and social services, which are key to their empowerment and integration. These rights must apply in practice as well as in law, and equally to women and men, including the provision of gender-responsive services.

The objective of the session is to highlight how PSI affiliates in the Africa and Arab region are carrying out actions in line with the commitments identified above and use these examples as models to learn from and replicate in their respective sub-regional and national contexts.

  • Speaker: Moradeke Abiodun-Badru, National Association of Nurses and Midwives (Nigeria)
  • Panellists:
    Alain Adikan, Fédération des Syndicats du Service Public (Niger)
    Nassira Ghozlane
    , SNAPAP (Algeria)
  • Moderator: Franklin Owusu-Ansah, Health Services Workers Union (Ghana)
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1:30 PM - 3:00 PM Workshop 3 - Whistleblowers
Hotel 2 Février, Salle Kamou
AFRECON

Parallel workshop 2: Protection of Whistleblowers

Fraud and wrongdoing are more likely to occur in organizations that are closed and secretive. Whistleblowers play a pivotal role in supporting transparency and accountability in both the public and private sectors – whistleblowers help to tackle illegal activities such as tax evasion, collusion and others that are contrary to the public interest.

In addition, whistleblowing is key to achieving transparency and accountability in the work of the future.

Paradoxically, while whistleblowing can save lives, jobs, the environment and money, in disclosing wrongdoing the workers who blow the whistle often face threats, risk their jobs, freedom, and even their lives.

The main objective of this session is to highlight the importance of whistleblowers in fighting the abuse of power, corruption and tax avoidance, and in promoting transparency, democracy and good governance in every place.

  • Speaker: David Boys, PSI Deputy General Secretary
  • Panellists:
    Joel Ajaero, National Union of Electricity Employees (Nigeria)
    Dimakatso Sebopa, DENOSA (South Africa)
    Amina Ben Said, Syndicat National Autonome des Travailleurs de l’Électricité et du Gaz (Algeria)
  • Moderator: Kamadji Demba Karyom, Fédération des Syndicats du Secteur Public (Chad)
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3:00 PM - 3:30 PM Tea/Coffee break
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3:30 PM - 5:30 PM Plenary 3 - Regional activities report and Resolutions
Hotel 2 Février, Salle Concorde
AFRECON

Chair: Peters Adeyemi, PSI’s Vice President for Africa & Arab Countries

  • Report back from Workshops
  • Regional Activities Report and Regional Action Plan for 2020-2023
    Sani Baba Mohammed
    , PSI Regional Secretary for Africa and Arab Countries

  • Resolutions from affiliates
  • Discussion and adoption of resolutions
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Friday, November 15, 2019
9:00 AM - 5:30 PM AFRECON DAY 3
AFRECON
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9:00 AM - 10:30 AM Panel 3 - Gender-responsive Quality Public Services
Hotel 2 Février, Salle Concorde
AFRECON

Panel 3 - “The importance and intervention of gender-responsive quality public services”

Public services provide the common interface between the people and the state. It also underpins human welfare and economic growth. In recent times, however, public services provision has come not only under attack from austerity measures introduced by IMF and its partners, but also under the profiteers who aim to take up public services as profit ventures. The austerity measures have led to poor quality public services provision, low access by the poor, and in some cases unaffordable. In addition, women and girls have been disproportionately disadvantaged by these measures that have affected quality public services provision.

Public Services International believes that it is the responsibility of every state to ensure that all its citizens have access to affordable, accessible, available and safe quality public services that are also gender responsive in nature. The attainment of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 2030), as well as reduction in gender inequalities will only be realized if the States take deliberate efforts to provide quality public services that are gender responsive.

The main objective of this session is to underpin the importance of quality public services to economic well-being and gender-responsive quality public services (QPS) as a tool for addressing gender inequalities within the context of Africa and Arab Countries. It also aims at addressing and proposing policies that could be adopted to ensure gender responsive QPS.

  • Speaker: Irene Khumalo, Swaziland Democratic Nurses Union (Swaziland)
  • Panellists:
    Melder Ogutu, Union of Kenya Civil Servants (Kenya)
    Elizabeth Mbo Bikim, Fédération Syndicale des Employés de la Santé, Pharmacies & Assimilés (Cameroon)
    Pat Mphela, National Public Service Workers Union (South Africa)
    Samira Hizaoui, Fédération Générale des Municipaux (Tunisia)
  • Moderator: Ritta Thandeka Msibi, DENOSA (South Africa)
  • Questions/Answers
  • Secretariat announcements and Solidarity messages
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10:30 AM - 11:00 AM Tea/Coffee break
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11:00 AM - 12:30 PM Panel 4 - Sectoral Networks
Hotel 2 Février, Salle Concorde
AFRECON

Panel 4 - “The role and importance of sectoral networks in the region”

Sector networks are believed to be critical especially as relates to exchange and sharing of experiences, building members capacity within an area of expertise among others. They also give opportunity for members to exchange current trends and changes within the sector. PSI in recognition of the importance of Sector network included it as part of its structure in the Constitution that was adopted during its World Congress that was held in November 2017. This is aimed at fostering strong networks that provide platform for members to share and exchange experiences, provide solidarity and build each one another’s capacity across the region in addressing challenges that are unique to each of the sector.

The main objective is to help members appreciate the key responsibilities of networks, the lobbying power of the networks and how to use diversity, experiences and expertise of the members in making unions stronger at country level, sub-regional and regional levels respective.

  • Speaker: Joe Ajaero, National Union of Electricity Employees (Nigeria)
  • Panellists:
    Musa Okello
    , National Union of Educational Institutions (Uganda)
    Sadien Radhakrishna
    , Government Services Employees Association (Mauritius)
    Samira Hizaoui
    , Fédération générale des municipaux (Tunisia)
  • Moderator: Perpetual Ofori-Ampofo, Ghana Registered Nurses' Association (Ghana)
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12:30 PM - 2:00 PM Lunch break
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2:00 PM - 3:30 PM Plenary 4 - Digitalization/Organising and Growth
Hotel 2 Février, Salle Concorde
AFRECON
  • Presentation 1: Digitalization and the Challenges of Developing Economies
    Speaker: Daniel Bertossa, Assistant General Secretary
    Moderator: Nadou Lawson-Olounkounlé, Syndicat National des Personnels des Services Economiques et Financiers (Togo)
  • Presentation 2: Organising and Growth
    Speaker: Daniel Mnanamela, Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (South Africa)
    Moderator: Nadou Lawson-Olounkounlé, Syndicat National des Personnels des Services Economiques et Financiers (Togo)
  • Discussion
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3:30 PM - 4:00 PM Tea/Coffee break
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4:00 PM - 5:30 PM Plenary 5 - Elections and Closing
Hotel 2 Février, Salle Concorde
AFRECON
  • Emergency resolutions
  • Presentation of nominations and election of AFREC members
  • Introduction of REC members
  • Obituaries
  • Closing remarks by PSI General Secretary, Rosa Pavanelli
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6:00 PM - 6:30 PM African Regional Executive Committee meeting (AFREC)
Hotel 2 Février, Salle Concorde

Meeting of incoming AFREC (for committee members only).

Election of Co-chairs and Vice-Presidents

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