At the request of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA), a series of surveys on the labour market and the informal sector were performed in 2001 – 2003, in seven countries of this region. They were conducted by the national statistical institutes under the joint guidance of experts from AFRISTAT and IRD economists (1 ). The first results provide accurate, original and homogeneous figures on the employment market and the informal sector in the capital city of each country. While some specific national situations are expressed, great similarities emerge concerning the structure of this market and the breakdown into the different sectors. This survey, which gave the opportunity to set up a permanent regional statistical analysis network, should in the long term provide collections of data useful for examination of the lines of economic policy on poverty reduction and development in these countries.
This type of programme appears particularly pertinent seeing that the African Union has committed itself to putting employment at the heart of its preoccupations, as it declared at the employment summit in Ouagadougou, in September 2004.
In most countries of Sub-Saharan Africa, few reliable data are available relating to employment, unemployment and the conditions in which occupations are practised. This is in spite of the fact that societies base their economies on work and that reduction of poverty remains the main objective of economic policies. The existing information in any case results from different concepts and methods of analysis peculiar to each national statistics institute, which prevents comparison at the scale of these countries as a whole.
Hélène Deval | EurekAlert!
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