Social Protection in Africa to “leave no one behind”

Photo: Dylan Lowthian/UNDP

By Brenda Hada

Over the past two decades, African countries have achieved accelerated economic growth and noteworthy social and political achievements. However, there is a general agreement that such economic expansion has not been inclusive of the extremely poor and vulnerable.

This scenario calls for urgent action to promote better distribution of the economic gains and increase social resilience. The recent experience of social protection schemes in Latin America, as well as in some African countries, shows that well-designed social protection schemes, including interventions in the labour markets, can tackle structural determinants of poverty and vulnerability leading to a transformative effect on the whole society, as well as address many of the SDG targets, and act as a pivotal tool to advance the 2030 Agenda as well as the Africa-wide development vision, Agenda 2063.

Overview of the state of Social Protection in Africa

In this regard, UNDP has designed the “State of Social Protection”, an on-going project research on Social Protection frameworks. With the main focus on social assistance, insurance and labour market measures, the research will observe transversally the current situation of African countries on applying social protection policies and programmes.

On last 24 April in Algiers, the project concept and briefing were presented to African Union representatives and ministries at the second meeting of the Specialised Technical Committee on Social Development, Labour and Employment (STC-SDLE-2).

As the council embodies the main preocupations of social welfare, it is such a privilege the “State of Social Protection” being addressed for the debate and decision-making bodies within the African Union as well as it going under the Experts Meeting’s theme “Investment in Employment and Social Security for Harnessing the Demographic Dividend”.

Due to the high relevance of the gathering and theme, the next local field research and analysis are expected to be aligned with African Union’s main agenda to help accelerate the political and socio-economic integration of Social Protection schemes. 

The main results and findings of this research will be published by early 2018 as the very first compedium on Social Protection in Africa and with the joint collaboration of UNDP, UNDP RIO+ Centre, ILO, UNECA, UNDP RSCA, University of Manchester, University of Sussex, the Institute for Social Law and Policy and African Union.

To read more themes on Social Protection access the Social Protection for Sustainable Development Report (SP4SD) launched in June 2016 in Gaborone.