The inclusion of workers with disabilities in Africa: A major challenge to overcome…

 

The right for all citizens to work is something that is present in almost all the legislations in Africa however it remains an aspiration more than a reality. It is even more true for people with disabilities. They represent close to 1 billion people so 15% of the world population. Almost 80% of them are old enough to work but most of the time, unfortunately, they are deprived of the right to have a decent job.

Generally, individuals with disabilities tend to have a higher unemployment and economic inactivity rate that their non-disabled peers. In France for example, more than 500,000 people with disabilities are unemployed. That is two times more than the non-disabled population. In Africa, only 10% of children with disabilities go to school and 80% of the adults are unemployed. The majority of them are reduced to a life of poverty and discrimination. Women are even more affected by the issues related to equal opportunity at the workplace.

An urgent need to find the right solutions

Even though developed countries are more and more taking into consideration the professional integration of that specific vulnerable group represented by people with disabilities, in developing countries, however, it still remains a major challenge to overcome. In France for example, the European Disability Employment Week (EDEW) has been organized every year since 1997. Last year, the event took place from the 19th to the 22nd of November and aims at taking actions and raising awareness about the inclusion of workers with disabilities in companies. The EDEW focused its 22nd edition on the obstacles for women with disabilities to have access to employment.

 

The beginnings of solutions on a legislation level

It was required by law for companies to hire people with disabilities in an effort to overcome the challenges that come with their integration into the workplace. It is an obligation for all employers both public and private. In this respect, they are all in the obligation to report the number of employees benefiting from the obligation to hire disabled workers law known as OETH, included companies with less than 20 employees. However companies with less than 20 employees will remain exempt by the OETH. There could be hope for a decline of discrimination against people with disabilities if it is a guarantee that those measures will be taken effectively.

Abdoulaye Fall  

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