From 22 to 24 March, the National Social Security and Insurance Trust (NSSIT) of Sierra Leone, in conjunction with the ISSA Liaison Office for West Africa, hosted a Technical Seminar on social security reforms, in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Forty-five participants from 13 countries examined and analysed some of the main reforms implemented by ISSA member organizations in West Africa.
On behalf of His Excellency the President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, the Minister of Labour and Social Security, the Honourable Hindolo Sumanguru Trye, thanked the Government as well as the staff of NSSIT and the ISSA for their help in organizing the Seminar. He stressed that the main challenges facing the country are the fight against poverty and the need to create an environment conducive to socioeconomic development. He added that it is important that social security institutions and their stakeholders work together to ensure the overall well-being of the population.
NSSIT Director General Samuel Bangura stated that social security reform must be widely implemented to address poverty. He underlined that a desire to extend coverage has been clearly demonstrated through the Government’s commitment to provide adequate financial resources for social security. He also called for a legislative amendment of the Social Security Act which will create access to a social insurance scheme for the informal sector.
In his opening remarks, the ISSA Liaison Officer for West Africa, Mr Amed Bamba, pointed out that, although social security organizations have been in existence in Africa for several decades, at the present time only around 10 percent of the population is covered by the social protection systems, and participation is typically limited to the formal sector. However, recently, mindful of the significant scope of social protection in contributing towards economic development and a stable social climate, countries in West Africa are increasingly introducing social security reforms.
Additional presentations highlighted reforms in Burkina Faso, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria and Togo.