African Union Leader: Africa Rising only for the 1 Percent

Africa.Joel Odigie.Africa Summit.8.14.RadioLabour

Joel Odigie says poverty and inequality are worsening in Africa, despite the continent’s economic growth.

“Africa rising” was the catchphrase buzzing around Washington, D.C., last week, as African heads of state met for a three-day summit with U.S. government and private business.

But Joel Odigie, coordinator of human and trade union rights for the International Trade Union Confederation-Africa, says working people are not benefiting from the continent’s economic growth.

“In reality, there is an economic growth in Africa that is for the 1 percent. Poverty continues to increase, inequality continues to widen,” he said,” speaking on RadioLabour. “The question of investment and trade should be the issues of how we are able to use that to address some of these concerns.”

Odigie was among 40 African union leaders meeting in Washington, D.C., to highlight the need for decent work—which includes good wages, safe working conditions and the freedom to form unions and collectively bargain—gender equality and human rights.

Listen to the full interview