Imani Countess

Solidarity Center Africa Regional Program Director Imani Countess Credit: Tula Connell

The U.S.-Africa Summit in Washington, D.C., last week stood apart from similar trade and investment meetings held by China or by the European Union because African union leaders, representing millions of working people, made their voices heard, said Imani Countess, Solidarity Center regional program director for Africa.

“Any U.S. conversation discussing economic development, trade and investment in Africa couldn’t happen without … people understanding how foundational decent work, labor rights … are to overall growth and economic development,” Countess said, speaking on RadioLabour.

The Solidarity Center and the AFL-CIO facilitated meetings, held in tandem with the U.S.-Africa Summit, that included nearly 40 union leaders from 11 countries to highlight the need for good jobs as a priority in trade and investment decisions.

“As one is looking at promoting investment in Africa, that investment has to be pro-employment, as opposed to the continued emphasis and support for growth that is benefiting a very small minority,” Countess said.

Listen to the full interview.

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