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The Future of Social Protection in Africa


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Fleur Wouterse
Boosting Growth to End Hunger by 2025 in Africa: The Role of Social Protection
MAY 2, 2019 - 12:15 PM TO 01:45 PM EDT

Published in: Government & Nonprofit
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The Future of Social Protection in Africa

  1. 1. The Future of Social Protection in Africa Fleur Wouterse, Senior Research Fellow IFPRI Africa Office
  2. 2. Agriculture-led growth • The Malabo Declaration emphasizes agriculture-led growth as the engine for poverty reduction in Africa. • But even the most inclusive growth may not be enough to lift everyone out of poverty. • Most Africans still make their living from the land and are particularly vulnerable to weather related shocks and natural disasters. • Food insecurity is a daily reality. • To take part in and benefit from the growth process, households need to have some basic level of capital and security.
  3. 3. Coverage of social protection • Social protection programs—public or private initiatives that aid the poor and protect the vulnerable against livelihood risks— can effectively be used to assist those trapped, or at the risk of being trapped, in chronic poverty. • Yet, in contrast to other regions, coverage of social protection is extremely low in African countries.
  4. 4. The three P’s of social protection • Social protection has three objectives
  5. 5. Promoting livelihoods • When recipient households face barriers in multiple markets, social protection can affect agricultural production and productivity through four channels: 1. Reduce liquidity constraints and thereby encourage spending on agricultural inputs 2. Facilitate small-scale savings or investment - by acting as collateral, enabling access to credit 3. Affect risk attitudes of farm household members by altering household wealth. 4. Affect food and nutrition security, which may in turn enhance labor productivity.
  6. 6. Cash+ programs • Cash+ programs are social protection interventions that provide regular cash transfers in combination with additional components or interventions designed to augment income effects. • Livelihood programs a wide range of interventions that help the poor acquire productive assets, build skills, or create new market opportunities • Graduation programs aim to reduce extreme poverty by simultaneously tackling the interrelated challenges faced by the very poor.
  7. 7. Impact evidence • Study of 48 programs implemented between 2014-2016 • No clear relationship between per beneficiary cost and impact. • While annual household consumption gain as a proportion of total program cost is the highest for cash transfers, they have the least amount of evidence of long-term impact. • Livelihood programs show limited sustainability of impact. • Graduation programs are the most consistent in having significant positive impact across sites.
  8. 8. Future demand for social protection in Africa • Two trends will determine the future demand for social protection in African countries. 1. Persistent high rates of poverty due to decades of economic decline and stagnation that preceded the recent economic recovery. 2. The transition toward more democratic, pluralistic political systems combined with faster economic growth and a more vocal urban segment of the poor and vulnerable population.
  9. 9. Two-fold challenge • African countries will need to find sufficient resources to invest in accelerating growth and meeting the cost of providing social services to large numbers of poor and vulnerable people. • This challenge is complex because most African countries operate under tight budget constraints and have limited experience with social protection programs.
  10. 10. A systems approach • An emerging trend in many countries on the African continent is the progressive move from fragmented programs to nationally- owned social protection systems. • A systems approach provides a comprehensive social protection response, offering beneficiaries a broad range of coordinated multi-sector interventions: preventive, protective, promotive and transformative. • For these systems to be successful some design features should be considered.
  11. 11. Design features
  12. 12. Key lessons • African countries can and must make substantial progress in developing functional social protection schemes in the coming decade the stability and growth of their economies depend directly upon it. • Social protection systems that are well-designed and implemented can powerfully shape countries, enhance human capital and productivity, reduce inequalities, build resilience and end inter-generational cycles of poverty.