Minister of Labour and Home Affairs, Edwin Batshu, stressed the importance of foreign investment in the country for economic recovery, calling on African nations to create concerted efforts for the smooth operations of the noble exercise across the continent.
Speaking at the 7th International Labour and Employment Relations Association (ALERA) Africa Regional Congress in Gaborone, Batshu lamented the global economic crisis the African states have had to grapple with, urging African leaders to consider foreign investment a priority for the continent’s development.
“In the aftermath of the global economic meltdown, foreign investment is highly regarded as a priority for economic recovery. It is therefore in the interest of Africa to create a conducive environment,” he said at the Gaborone International Convention Centre to an audience that included international scholars and experts in labour and employment relations.
President of ILERA, Professor Evance Kalula, Secretary of ILERA at ILO, Moussa Oumarou, and ILO Pretoria Director Vic van Vuuren graced the occasion. Also present was local High Court judge Key Dingake.
While foreign investment has its own benefits, the move could also be accompanied by undesirable social aspects such as exploitation of workers by some foreign investors.
That notwithstanding, Batshu highlighted the importance of labour migration on the labour market as men and women move across borders in search of employment, bringing with them the much needed skills and expertise the receiving country may need.
“Some migrants particularly the irregular ones are sometimes blamed for accepting to work under poor conditions and even accepting wages which are below the statutory minimum wages,” he noted.
Batshu added these are the challenging issues that require solutions, given the skills and experience the illegal migrants will have to impart on the host citizenry.
Neighbouring politically and economically troubled Zimbabwe, Botswana and South Africa have had to quell complaints from their respective citizens who complain of illegal Zimbabwe migrants taking their jobs with the cheap labour prices they have offer.
With the informal sector the means of survival for millions of people in the African continent, Batshu called on the African leaders to improve the conditions of employment in the sector.
Besides discussing and exchanging views on common issues with a view to create ideal conditions for research and educational exchanges on industrial relations, the 7th ILERA, Africa Regional Congress paved the way for the 17th ILERA World Congress that will be hosted for the first time in Africa during September 2015 in Cape Town.
“Innovative labour and employment relations, labour law and social security among others the social protection floor, the decent work agenda responses have been called on to accommodate new contexts including the many challenges facing the traditional concept, sphere and boundaries of these domains. These developments and their implications will be debated at the 17th ILERA World Congress,” Batshu reassured the audience.