The growing army of child labourers in Africa is expected to swell by at least 1m new children per year if current economic and social trends persist, the International Labour Office (ILO) warned in a report prepared for a tripartite meeting of workers, employers and governments in Kampala, Uganda.

The report, Child Labour in Africa -- Targeting the Intolerable says that 'the poverty, population and education indicators give a potentially bleak picture for the future of child labour in Africa.'

The ILO estimates that the number of child labourers in Africa could surge from today's 80m to over 100m by the year 2015, as a result of a demographic explosion of impoverished people and poor or inadequate levels of economic growth across much of the continent.

As part of a growing international effort to come to terms with the problem of child workers, the ILO helped organise a conference jointly with the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) which was held in Kampala in early February, which brought together representatives from employer and worker organisations and governments of 22 African countries seeking to develop and implement national policies to reduce and eliminate child labour.

In percentage terms, Africa already has the highest incidence of child labour, with approximately 41% of all children between 5 and 14 years old involved in economic activity (versus 21% in Asia and 17% in Latin...

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