ORGANIZED labour has urged
African governments to insist
on fair international trade,
and not undermine the rights
of African workers and their
national development objectives
in their desperate quest for foreign
investment.
Addressing the Working committee
meeting on Trade and Industrial
Policy of INDUSTRIALL global
union in Colombo, Sri Lanka on
Monday 6th of November Comrade
Issa Aremu, observed that decisions
of multinationals to invest in Africa
“are often inspired by access to
vast market, tax holidays, cheap
raw materials and supply chains,
subsidies and low wages rather
than mass decent sustainable jobs,
technology transfers and national
development.”
Aremu who is also the Vice
President of INDUSTRIALL global
union for Africa said miserable low
wages, long hours of works, child
labour and what he called “labour
dumping and direct importation of
cheap prisoner- workers” to Africa
make up the new motivations for
some Chinese investment in Africa.
The labour leader therefore
cautioned African governments to be
weary of trade and investment deals
which he alleged would consign them
perpetually to the status of producers
of raw materials, export base for
foreign multinationals’ products as
distinct from developing producer
economies.
Comrade Aremu who argued that
international trade issues are “too
important and too weighty” to be left
with governments alone expressed
labour support for the recent
proposals by 90 developing countries
including Nigeria demanding
for changes in the rules of World
Trade Organization, WTO, that put
constrains on national development
priorities.
He said the demand for fair
international trade must be linked
with development of African
economies. “Africa should copy
China by also adding value to its
abundant natural raw materials,
create jobs for its youthful population,
and stop uncritically clapping for
China which takes the Continent’s
raw materials, dumps finished goods
and even imports prisoners/workers
to Africa” he said.
He observed that China had
dramatically uplifted 250 million
citizens out of absolute poverty
through job-led growth, mass
industrialization and infrastructural
development in the last two decades.
“What was good for China is even
more desirable for Africa” he said.

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