On 21 and 22 July 2020, the Economic Community of West African States (Communauté Economique des Etats de l’Afrique de l’Ouest – CEDEAO) organised a regional webinar on the action plan and strategy in support of private sector on Covid-19.
The President of the Federation of West African Employers’ Organisations (Fédération des Organisations Patronales de l’Afrique de l’Ouest – FOPAO), M. Jean- Marie ACKAH, presented the employers’ position before the CEDEAO.
In his intervention, he suggested that “in order to succeed, it is important to allow the private sector of the region to play its role as the engine of development of the sub-region's economy. It is also necessary to create a framework that promotes the relaunch of activities and the prosperity of the company so that it can contribute to the economic and social development of our region”.
Moreover, he underlined the importance of social dialogue, notably to maintain the levels of employment, and an improved understanding of the business reality. He commented that “For the FOPAO, in view of the persistence of the crisis, it is necessary that the consultations between the public and private sectors be strengthened within each State and that specific frameworks of discussions are devoted to the problems related to COVID-19”.
He proposed multiple ways to reduce the impact of Covid-19 pandemic on the private sector and the society. For instance, regional fiscal measures in support of the private sector could be the creation of an economic Covid-19 recovery fund under the CEDEAO, other forms of subsidies to companies, exemptions from certain community rules on taxation, but also capacity building to be better placed in the digital market.
For workers, the improvement of the unemployment insurance to compensate for job losses would be tremendously helpful to “fight poverty, maintain the households’ power of purchase and support consumption”.