The ILO and UNDP jointly formed ARLAC in 1974.  In 1982, it transformed into a unique organization with its independent Governing Council, comprising labour ministries from its member countries but with lots of support from the ILO and UNDP. The current membership of ARLAC stands at twenty full members, that is, countries that have ratified the ARLAC Agreement.  These countries, convinced that the social protection function was expanding in scope and activity and that the objective of development plans would not be achieved if social and labour factors on the one hand and economic factors on the other, were not coordinated or harmonized, emphasized the need for training.

The ARLAC programme is designed to provide participants with a unique opportunity to explore key issues in labour administration and labour policy development. The interactive learning draws on the professional and experiences of all those taking part in ARLAC’s programme. The training activities are supported by technical advisory; information and research services, to further promote the improvement of individual and organizational effectiveness.  ARLAC programmes are executed at regional, sub-regional and national levels. On average, ARLAC runs twelve courses per year.

ARLAC is concerned with identifying and addressing fundamental issues that relate to social protection and the promotion of economic and social development in member countries through the labour administration function.  ARLAC strategically asserts itself to translate common endeavours of member countries into realizable programmes and activities within the context of a changing global workplace.

ARLAC works very closely with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and advises its membership on the promotion of the application of the principles of the ILO instruments on safety among others.

ARLAC is actually a CIS Regional Centre for Africa. "CIS is the knowledge management arm of the ILO Programme on Safety and Health at Work and the Environment (SafeWork). Its goal is to ensure that workers and everyone concerned with their protection have access to the facts they need to prevent occupational injuries and diseases."

ARLAC has partnerships with the International Association for Labour Inspectors(IALI), International Occupational Safety and Health Information Centre(CIS); and its sister organisations representing the Arabic and Franco-phone countries of Africa, ACLAE and CRADAT respectively; the International Organisation for Employers (IOE), and the Bureau for Workers' Activities (ACTRAV). There was also a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the International Training Centre of the ILO based in Turin, Italy which is in the process of being reviewed. Annual joint planning meetings are held with the ILO sub-regional offices. ARLAC is guided by the AU Charter in its activities and is funded by Member States and the ILO.


Traditionally ARLAC offers short courses/workshops but as a sign of maturity and in response to demand ARLAC is presently finalizing background work for the introduction of the advanced diploma/degree programme in Employment and Labour Studies. The programme is designed to meet the needs in member country capacity building and is intended for employees of government ministries and departments of labour/employment, and those in workers’ and employers’ organisations specifically dealing with labour issues.

Ideally the programme will be piloted in collaboration with four regional institutions - University of Zimbabwe (Zimbabwe, Southern Africa); University of Nairobi (Kenya, Eastern Africa); Cairo University (Egypt, Northern Africa) and University of Lagos (Nigeria, Western Africa). As of now the programme has started at the University of Lagos.

Further information can be obtained directly from:

Website: www.unilag.edu.ng

Website: www.arlac.co.zw/elsdd

Email:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



Nineteen countries have ratified the ARLAC agreement and these are:

  • Botswana
  • Egypt
  • Ethiopia
  • Ghana
  • Kenya
  • Lesotho
  • Liberia
  • Malawi
  • Mauritius
  • Namibia
  • Nigeria
  • Sierra Leone
  • Somalia
  • South Africa
  • Sudan
  • Swaziland
  • Uganda
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe

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E-mail Address: arlac@arlac.co.zw


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