Whereas the Horn of Africa was at the center of many turmoil’s for decades, the recent rapprochements between Eritrea and Ethiopia now open the door for more political dialogue in the subregion. Consequently, the Trade Unions of the Horn of Africa came together in Addis Ababa to discuss economic and social challenges and to create a new regional body, the Horn of Africa Confederation of Trade Unions (HACTU).
With delegates from Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda as well as participants from academia, media and civil society, the meeting provided a sound platform for transnational discussion and was hosted by the Confederation of Ethiopian Trade Unions (CETU).
The event on October 26th was opened by Mr. Kassahun Follo (CETU President), Mr. Constantin Grund (Resident Representative of FES Ethiopia), Marie-Hélène Akira (Vice-President of ITUC Africa), Mr. Kabu Mban (Workers specialist from the International Labor Organization, ILO) and AmbassadorMisganaw Arega (State Minister of Labor and Social Affairs, Ethiopian Government).
In the following discussion, His Excellence Ambassador Mohamoud Dirir laid emphasis on the role of the Ethiopian government to sustain peace and security in the region, stressing the importance of civil society and labor movements. The stabilizing and peace enforcing role of Trade Unions was the main focus also in the following presentation by Mr. Kabu Mban.
Inspired by the workshop’s discussion, the delegations adopted the draft of HACTU’s Constitution, followed by an election of the electoral board and the officers of HACTU. As a result, the new President of HACTU is Mr. Tekeste Baire from Eritrea, Secretary General will be Mr. Kassahun Follo from Ethiopia.
The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung is looking forward to following up on the development of this newly established organization.