The Employers Consultative Association of Malawi (ECAM) has concentrated its effort on delivering labour and industrial relations services but has received criticism for neglecting its role in policy advocacy.
ECAM’s members have requested that the organization have a more active role in influencing and reforming the legal and regulatory business environment. The Labor Advisory Council of the Ministry of Labor suggests that ECAM needs to enhance their ability to act on major policy advocacy issues. ECAM’s current platform deals only with labor and industrial relations matters but requires further development and a more coherent variety of proposals.
How employers’ organizations dealt with it
ECAM requested the support of the ILO to improve their capacity to understand, assess and analyze data related to policy, legal and regulatory environments in which businesses in Malawi operate. In accordance with the ILO EESE toolkit, ECAM assessed its capacity to deliver its mandate on policy advocacy towards sustainable enterprises.
The assessment generated Industry Sector Focus Group Discussions and led social partners and various stakeholders to form common positions about policy dialogue. As outlined in the Malawi Growth and Poverty Reduction report, the aim of the policy reform is to create decent and productive work for Malawi through sustainable enterprises and micro, small and medium enterprise development in various growth sectors of the economy. As a result ECAM was able to create an EESE report for Malawi and a Tripartite Action Plan on interventions.
The result, outcome and main interventions
Malawi’s EESE Assessment outcomes created development into an ECAM Business Agenda. The Agenda will guide ECAM’s advocacy policy towards sustainable enterprises in the areas of skills development and youth entrepreneurship. Furthermore, ECAM has been given a seat on the Private Development Strategy Committee at the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
The immediate and expected long-term result
As an immediate result, ECAM has enhanced its recognition and visibility as a major player in policy discourse on the regulatory and legal environment for sustainable enterprises. The Malawi EESE Assessment is also now being implemented.
The capacity assessment conducted by ECAM called for the immediate recruitment of an Economist to address the human resource gap for research support. The implementation of the 3 year business agenda is beneficial for ECAM’s policy advocacy efforts.
In the long-term, ECAM’s will enhance their capacity to record policy advocacy efforts, implementation of achievements, and accountability to membership on the business agenda. It will also be easier to mobilize resources for the implementation of business agendas. An enhanced culture for evidence based advocacy will facilitate enterprise growth and development.