MANAGING RISK, PROMOTING GROWTH:DEVELOPING SYSTEMS FOR SOCIAL PROTECTION IN AFRICA The World Bank’s Africa Social Protection Strategy 2012–2022 June 2012
AFRICA SOCIAL PROTECTION STRATEGY 2012–2022: MAIN MESSAGES1. Social protection is a powerful way to fight pov- emerging that social protections can contribute sig-erty and promote growth. A growing body of ev- nificantly to reductions in inequality, by redistrib-idence from African countries shows that social uting income to poor households and supportingprotection directly reduces chronic poverty and their participation in productive activities.vulnerability, as these programs enable poor house- 3. Safety nets are a critical part of a govern-holds to meet their basic consumption needs, pro- ment’s capacity to respond to shocks. The tripletect their assets, and achieve better health, nutrition, crises of 2008 and the 2011 drought in East Africaand education outcomes. These programs also build have demonstrated the vital role that safety netshouseholds’ productive assets and expand their in- play in mitigating the impact of shocks on poor andcome-earning opportunities by building their la- vulnerable households. Across Africa, countriesbor market skills and enabling them to engage in with well-established safety nets were able to scalehigher risk, higher return activities. Social protec- up these initiatives swiftly to provide assistance totion contributes to local economic development by a large number of vulnerable households. Africanimproving labor market functioning, stimulating governments need to put in place the prerequisiteslocal markets through cash transfers, and creating for scaling up their safety net programs seamless-community infrastructure, and to broad economic ly, such as robust early warning systems and con-growth by boosting aggregate demand and facilitat- tingency plans, and ensure that these programs areing difficult economic reforms. coordinated with a well-functioning humanitarian 2. Social protection reduces inequality and response system.promotes social stability. Social protection has 4. Countries can realize significant benefits bybeen used by governments to help strengthen the creating an integrated social protection system.social contract, which can promote social stabili- Adopting a systems approach to social protectionty during periods of crises and difficult economic will reduce inefficiencies and ensure more equita-reforms. African countries that are emerging from ble delivery of benefits from safety nets, pensions,conflict situations have used social protection to fos- insurance, labor programs, and targeted service de-ter peace and to rebuild their social capital. This is livery. This approach is founded on a policy frame-because, for example, labor-intensive public works work that articulates the vision for social protectionprograms in fragile and violent settings can quick- in a country, thereby guiding the choice of instru-ly help stabilize a high-risk situation. Evidence is ments, financing mechanisms, and institutional ix
EXECUTIVE SUMMARYSocial Protection is Needed More than no family support. Africa’s informal support net-Ever in Africa works are increasingly ill suited to respond to these challenges. Yet, the costs of not protecting poorMuch has changed in Africa over the past decade. populations from the negative effects of shocks areEconomic growth has averaged 5 percent annual- very high and long-lasting. Because of this, socially for a decade. As a result, the percentage of the protection will remain at the forefront of social pol-African population living in poverty fell from 58 to icy in Africa for the foreseeable future.51 percent between 1995 and 2005. Significant gains African countries have made great strideshave been made across a range of social indicators. in establishing and strengthening social protec-Primary education enrollment rose from 56 to 75 tion programs for poor and vulnerable popula-percent, and gender parity in education is close to tions. Social protection is now regarded amongbeing achieved. HIV prevalence declined and there policymakers as a key component of poverty reduc-is evidence that child mortality is beginning to fall tion strategies in the region, and dialogue and de-sharply. Across the continent, several countries are bate on social protection has continued to expand.well on their way to meeting most of the Millennium Governments are investing in social protection pro-Development Goals. grams that are proving to be effective, and lessons Despite these gains, rates of chronic poverty from the design and implementation of these pro-remain high and millions of people are vulnerable grams are now informing the expansion of socialto a range of well-known risks, which are increas- protection across the continent. The focus has re-ingly exacerbated by new sources of vulnerability. cently turned to establishing scalable social pro-This vulnerability stems from demographic trends, tection programs than can respond effectively toclimate change, governance challenges, and Africa’s shocks, based on the experience of the 2008 food,integration into the global economy, among other fuel, and financial crisis and the 2011 drought in thefactors. For example, the vast majority of Africans Horn of Africa. Such commitments are reflected instill make their living from the land which means the growing number of regional organizations andthat they are particularly vulnerable to weather, nat- development agencies supporting social protection.ural disasters, and climate shocks and that food in- However, while spending on social protectionsecurity is a daily reality for millions. Within these is increasing, overall levels of both spending andbroad trends, some groups are particularly vulner- coverage remain low, except in some middle-in-able to the negative effects of shocks and persistent come countries. These generally low levels of cover-poverty, and tend to include orphans, populations age stand in stark contrast with the widespread na-affected by HIV/AIDS, widows, and the elderly with ture of poverty in Africa. At the same time, overall
6 BUILDING NATIONAL SOCIAL PROTECTION SYSTEMS TAILORED TO COUNTRY CONTEXT All countries in Africa have experience with some form of social protection, and many are experi- menting with programs to further expand them (see sections 1.2 and 5).130 Generally, however, these programs operate independently, each with limited coverage and with little or no coordination between them. This results in SP systems that are highly frag- mented,131 and in a paucity of programs capable of being scaled to respond to crisis. Evidence indicates that countries can realize significant benefits by creating an integrated and coherent SP system. This enables governments to respond more effectively and efficiently to chronic poverty and promote inclusive growth. It also can strengthen a country’s crisis response capacity. This approach capitalizes on the fact that reducing frag- mentation and promoting harmonization can en- hance both the performance of individual programs and the overall equity, resilience, and opportunity functions of social protection. The trajectory for these systems will depend on a country’s initial circumstances, including its polit- ical economy and institutional context. This section considers these factors and the steps that govern- ments across Africa can take to develop a nation- al SP system.Characteristics of a National SocialProtection SystemA social protection system is made up of public poli- cies and programs and private and informal SP mech-anisms that deliver the equity, resilience, and op- portunity functions of social protection to reduce povertyand contribute to inclusive economic growth and more equitable development outcomes. While acknowledgingthe important role that private and informal social protection plays in Africa (Box 6.1), in this section, wediscuss only public SP systems. This includes the role played by the state in regulating and creating incentivesfor the effective and equitable provision of private and informal social protection. Several characteristics are considered vital ele- ments of a well-functioning SP system. Equity. All citizens should be treated equitably in terms of the benefits of and the financing for130 This section draws extensively on the background paper on social protection systems prepared for the World Bank’s Social Protection and Labor Strategy 2012–2022.131 This point is discussed at length as it applies to safety nets in section 5.1 and pensions in section 5.2.
BOX 6.2: Delivering Safety Nets in a Fragile State: The Case of Sudan The Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) signed in 2005 between the Government of Sudan and the Southern Sudan Liberation Movement (SPLM) ended two decades of civil war. The CPA recognized the urgent need to ad- dress the wide disparities between regions and states in development and in access to services and opportunities that were the underlying structural causes of conflict. The government and its development partners provided sig- nificant resources to support these efforts. One of the projects that these resources finance is the Community Development Fund Project (CDFP), which channels funds directly to local communities. The CDFP was designed to align its structures with those of the gov- ernment so as not to undermine government capacity. To this end, all staff members (except the manager) in the Local Implementation Units (LIUs) are government employees. These staff will be transferred back to the local gov- ernment planning units (together with project resources) when the CDFP ends. The CDFP is managed centrally by a Project Implementation Unit, which oversees the LIUs. LIUs were estab- lished in each of the targeted localities/districts and are in charge of implementation together with local govern- ments, communities, community-based organizations (CBOs), and NGOs. Communities are responsible for identi- fying and prioritizing their needs through Community Action Plans that are prepared in a participatory manner with support from CBOs, NGOs, and LIUs. Communities also contribute to implementation and management of proj- ect activities. CBOs and NGOs help communities to build their capacity and provide technical support in the im- plementation of projects. Local government in the form of the Locality Steering Committees reviews and approves the consolidated Community Action Plan for the district, oversees the implementation of projects, ensures human resources and recurrent costs are allocated to project-funded schools and health facilities, and, together with the state government, oversees the allocation of government staff to LIUs.vulnerability, stabilize social structures, and ensure in these different country settings. The figure showsthat these countries do not slide back into conflict. the range of choices available within the same typeHowever, fragile states may have limited national ca- of SP instrument depending on the income level ofpacity to implement such programs, which suggests the country in question and whether or not it is aa possible role for NGOs and community-based or- fragile state.ganizations. Social funds may be able to direct re- These examples also suggest how countriessources to local governments and communities, and could move towards a more integrated and coher-when designed carefully, they also can build nation- ent SP system. For example, LICs could implemental capacity (Box 6.2 describes how the Community a nationwide cash transfer program (and/or regularDevelopment Fund Project in Sudan was designed seasonal public works) that would establish the ba-to support government capacity).133 sic systems for identifying and targeting recipients, In this context, SP systems can be built on the keeping accurate and up-to-date records, and mak-foundation of disarmament, demobilization, and ing benefits payments. It may be necessary to keepreintegration (DDR) and community rebuilding these relatively simple and to invest resources in en-programs as the initial post-crisis or post-conflict suring that there is sufficient capacity to implementhumanitarian response becomes a more structured and sustain them.approach to social protection. These programs could then be used as a foun- dation to extend the available menu of SP services. Beneficiaries could be automatically enrolled in ag-Matching Social Protection Interventions to ricultural or health insurance. As more institutionalCountry Context capacity is built (and as fiscal space allows), the SP
vii The World Bank’s Africa Social Protection Strategy 2012–2022