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The United Nations labor agency said on Thursday that labor mobility in the East African Community (EAC) bloc will boost economic growth.

Wellington Chibebe, director for country office for Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda at the International Labour Organization (ILO), told Xinhua in Nairobi the economic bloc has already made significant strides towards regional integration.

“The free movement of labor in the EAC will help to reduce workforce shortages of critical skills by allowing surplus labor to move to countries with labor deficiencies in the economic bloc,” Chibebe said during the 60th annual general meeting of the Federation of Kenya Employers.

The EAC member states include Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan.

Chibebe said that the cross border movement of workers will promote the sharing of experience and knowledge within the economic bloc.

He said that EAC people are one with a similar culture and are separated by artificial borders.

According to the ILO official, the member states are yet to harmonize their national labor laws and policies.

He noted that some of the reforms that can promote free movement of labor include portability of social security to ensure that workers can move with their pensions across the economic bloc.

Chibebe said that adequate labor laws will also help to deal with the issue of irregular migration and exploitation of foreign laborers. Enditem

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