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Overview of ARLAC

The African Regional Labour Administration Centre (ARLAC) is an intergovernmental organisation with a mandate to strengthen labour administration systems in African countries through training, research, consultancy, advisory services and publications.

ARLAC is part of a network of three former ILO and UNDP regional projects on labour administration. The other two are: the Centre Régional Africain d’Administration du Travail (CRADAT) for French speaking African countries and Le Centre Arabe pour l’Administration du Travail et l’Emploi (ACLAE) for Arabic speaking African countries. While ARLAC is based in Harare, Zimbabwe, CRADAT is in Yaoundé, Cameron and ACLAE is in Tunis, Tunisia.


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Governing Council (GC)

The Governing Council was established as ARLAC’s supreme authority with full powers to provide oversight, strategic and policy direction in the pursuit of all ARLAC’s objectives. It consists of Ministers of Labour/Employment/Manpower issues in the member countries as well as Ministers responsible for labour matters in member countries. A representative of the Director General of the International Labour Office (ILO) is an ex-officio member of the Governing Council. 

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Committee of Senior Officials (CSO)

The Committee of Senior Officials was created to exercise oversight over the Executive Management Committee in respect of governance, policy implementation and programming.

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Executive Office (EO)

The Executive Management Committee was established to exercise all the powers related to governance, policy implementation and programming.

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The secretariat is the permanent administrative unit at ARLAC. It is headed by the Executive Director who is also is the Secretary of the Governing Council, Committee of Senior Officials and the Executive Management Committee.


To be a leading Centre of excellence in labour administration for development in Africa.


To build capacity in labour administration for development in member countries.


As outlined in Article 2 of the Constitution of ARLAC, the objectives of the Centre are to:

  1. provide certified training as appropriate and related activities for officials of labour administration systems in ARLAC member countries;
  2. promote technical co-operation between member countries by mobilising expertise for undertaking in-country training and facilitating exchange programmes, specialist consultancy and advisory services;
  3. provide a platform for benchmarking on good practices, undertake studies and research in all aspects of labour administration as appropriate, in liaison with other institutions; and
  4. publish research findings, produce and publish training materials, to assist member countries in the development of their labour administration systems.



To listen, appreciate and recognize all people.


To be honest, ethical and fair


To build a sustainable organization through service excellence.


To inspire and enable people to make a positive difference in the world of work.


Teamwork requires that members work individually and collectively towards a common goal.


All employees of the Centre shall be dedicated through their actions while implementing various activities.


Accountability requires zero tolerance to corruption and demonstrating accountability for actions, decisions and resources under one’s care.


ARLAC staff members and stakeholders shall respect and value each other, thrive on their diversity, and work with partners.


The mandate of ARLAC is to strengthen labour administration systems in African countries through training, research, consultancy and advisory services as well as publications. These four pillars hold up a roof to represent the activities which underpin ARLAC’s quest for sound labour administration systems and ultimately promoting sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all in its own activities.

ARLACs training mandate is derived from its first and key objective – to provide certified training as appropriate and related activities for officials of labour administration systems in ARLAC member countries.

ARLAC has been at the forefront of training labour administration courses in Africa since 1974. As a key actor in the African Labour Administration Systems, it is dedicated to developing the capacity of labour administrators and their social partners to carry out their respective functions and prepare themselves for the changing world of work.

Training programmes at the Centre usually last between one week and eight weeks and are run by our International Training Centre (ITCILO) certified facilitators. The Centre reaches out beyond the classroom. Participants gain access to our eLearning portal, virtual reality experiences, hands-on workshops, and much more. Digital certificates are an easy way to prove and share achievements.

ARLAC provides capacity building services to labour administrators and their social partners through courses like employment promotion, international labour standards, social protection, social dialogue, labour migration, gender equality, labour inspection, and occupational safety and health. ARLAC has made significant strides in training and the following are some of its successes and achievements during its existence;

  1. Introduction and implementation of the Basic Labour Market Course in collaboration with ITCILO;
  2. Conducting high level symposia for ministers and senior executives on topical issues in the work of work;
  3. Reaching out to all levels of the labour administration system right up to ministerial level;
  4. Offering online learning opportunities through the ARLAC eLearning Portal;
  5. Signing of MOU’s with accrediting academic institutions for the teaching of a Master’s Degree/Post Graduate Diploma Training Programme in varying areas of the labour administration;
  6. ARLAC has worked closely with the ILO to have a cohort of 52 trainers trained and certified by ITCILO;
  7. Trained our first 10000 participants;
  8. Offering tripartite programmes to promote effective and meaningful cooperation between employers, workers and governments at all levels of decision making related to industrial relations; National training activities that focus on the unique training needs of the respective member countries;
  9. Steadfast increase in women’s participation in the ARLAC activities, in 2023 alone we trained 176 women and 164 men. During the period 2016 – 2021 58% of the participants were male as opposed to 42% women participants. ARLAC is firmly committed to promoting gender equality and appeals to the governments of member countries, as well as to employers’ and workers’ organisations, to make every effort to achieve parity in the composition of their participants.
  10. Developed digital certifications for both our face to face and online courses.

Course Participation in ARLAC Programmes (2013 – 2023)

Respecting our clients’ training investment means providing the training that meets their needs. No more, no less. For this reason, aligning expectations, defining exact needs and targeting training to meet those needs are important parts of the process.

ARLAC provides advisory and consultancy services to its member countries and other development  partners, including the African Union, United Nations agencies and international NGOs. These services are directed towards strengthening labour administration systems in member countries.

Recent key successes to our may include, but is not limited to:

being one of African Union Commission’s (AUC’s) collaborating partners for developing and delivering the Joint Labour Migration Project (JLMP) training and capacity building strategy (2020);

supporting the Southern African Migration Management (SAMM) project in the execution of Country Level Dialogues in SADC countries through the organisation of meetings (including capacity-building sessions). Partners in the SAMM Project include the ILO, International Organisation for Migration (IOM), European Union (EU), the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) (2020-23); and

offering collaborative training such as the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) course on Strengthening the Knowledge and Skills of National Stakeholders on Labour Migration Governance (2021).

In essence, ARLAC:

  1. Promotes technical cooperation between member countries by mobilizing expertise and specialist consultancy and advisory services in response to requests from member countries seeking to strengthen their labour administration systems;
  2. Assists in the form of information sharing, backstopping of national training activities and financing support;
  3. Helps member countries find and implement solutions to a wide variety of problems, including those related to labour rights and industrial relations counselling; advice on decent employment, social protection for all, strengthening tripartism and social dialogue, environmental compliance, health and safety, employment policy, labour standards, research and statistics, regulatory problems, training needs among many others; and
  4. Avails itself to undertaking activities that enhance the realisation of its goals within its member countries.

The broad objectives of the Centre, as provided for in Article 2 of the Constitution of ARLAC include undertaking of studies and research in all aspects of labour administration. Information and research in labour matters is also one of the four major functions of a Labour Administration system.  These could consist in collection of information, labour market analysis, surveys, forecast, dissemination of information, statistics, and relations with mass media.


Modern research benefits from advanced technology, making data collection faster, more efficient, and more accurate

The objective sought by research institutions within the Labour Administration system cannot be achieved without good statistical data. The labour statistics available today in most ministries of labour broadly relate to the  fields of Labour Force, Employment, Underemployment, and Unemployment; Registration and placement by public employment services; Classification by industries; Classification by age, and sex; Education; Classification by occupation; Classification by status; Data on Wages; Wage structure and distribution; Minimum wages; Average earnings & hours of work; Equal remuneration; Labour cost; Industrial Relations; Industrial disputes and workdays lost by strikes, lockouts, etc.; Nature of disputes, Region wise, and industry wise Classification; Social Security; Provident fund and pension funds; Bonus, work person’s compensation, gratuity etc.; Industrial diseases; Accidents at work; Productivity and productivity indices; Workers in the Rural Area and in the Informal Economy; Emigration/Migration of workers; Report on the Working of various Labour Acts every year; Working and Living Conditions of Workers in specific areas or industries; and youth employment.

Although still popular, traditional research depended on manual data collection methods, limited sample sizes, and slower data processing.

In order to remain relevant, ARLAC continues to undertake studies and research in labour administration and related matters in the world of work. This enables ARLAC to offer appropriate tutorial material for its training, consultancy and advisory services. ARLAC research is guided by three objectives; that is to:

  1. publish research findings for the benefit of member countries in the development of their labour administration systems Strategic Actions;
  2. undertake studies to assess the impact of ARLAC’s activities on the overall performance of each member country’s labour administration system Strategic Actions; and to
  3. develop and execute integrated marketing and communications efforts that ensure visibility and position ARLAC.

The fourth objective of the Centre set out in the Constitution of ARLAC is “to publish research findings, produce and publish training materials, to assist member countries in the development of their labour administration systems.”

ARLAC production works mainly consist of the publication of proceedings of seminars and workshops conducted by ARLAC. These reports are posted on the website and shared via email with all stakeholders. Our publications are informed by rigorous research and grounded in almost 50 years of experience in the world of work.

Examples of ARLAC’s publications over time include:

  1. Training manuals on Labour Administration, Labour Inspection and Occupational Health and Safety among others;
  2. Labour Administration Journal;
  3. Guide for Secretariats of National Tripartite Consultation Bodies in English-speaking African countries (authored jointly with the ILO); and
  4. Curriculum for its courses (ELSDD).

ARLAC has also published the following among others

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