Ghana seeks to boost its fight against child labor to ensure that all children of school-going age are safe in school and protected from hazardous work, an official said here Wednesday.
Ignatius Baffour Awuah, minister for Employment and Labor Relations, made the comment in an interview during the opening of a three-day technical meeting of labor experts of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
Awuah said Ghana’s piloting of child labor-free zones had been successful and would be expanded to cover more communities to rid the country of child labor.
“Sometimes, if you go into communities with a specific target of getting children out of one sector, for instance, in cocoa production, you may succeed, but the next moment, you see them in artisanal mining, fishing, or in some other activity of child labor,” he said. “So now, our actions are targeted at eliminating child labor in every sector within the community. So our experts will later go to these communities and assess the impacts that we have made, and if they are so convinced, then the community is certified.”
He said this action would benefit products from these certified communities “because the community is certified as child labor-free, all products coming from that place are considered wholesome.”
Awuah said the West African country, the second largest producer of cocoa, had come under international scrutiny due to allegations of child labor in cocoa production, adding that the Ghana Cocoa Board had been doing a lot to trace the source of particular products to ensure that no child labor is involved in their production.
The ECOWAS is committed to developing an action plan to eradicate child labor in the subregion by 2030.
The three-day meeting of experts is preparatory ahead of the ECOWAS ministers of labor conference. The experts will discuss issues of child labor, look at how the countries are performing, the gaps that exist, and how to work together to ensure the achievement of the targets. Enditem