Effective access to adequate social protection plays a crucial role in promoting sustainable development, social cohesion and socioeconomic resilience. In recognition of this, African governments have expressed a renewed commitment to expand the scope and extend social security coverage to the vast majority of the population on the continent during the last decades. However, effective coverage rates remain generally low and vary within countries and across branches of social security due to low labour participation in the formal economy (ILO, 2017).
Service quality is a key priority for member organizations of the International Social Security Association (ISSA) in Africa. Social security institutions in this ISSA region are committed to responding to the public’s increasing expectations for improved social security services. Staff development, innovative practices, research, process re-engineering, partnerships, employing new technologies and improving governance practices are among the main strategies and approaches that are leveraging institutional capacities for better service. E-government is growing in Africa, with more than 34 countries offering online services or at least one portal for public information. By taking advantage of new developments in various administrative areas, Africa is simultaneously raising the bar on service quality, transparency and good governance.
Error, Evasion and Fraud in Social Security Systems
Contribution Collection and Compliance
Preventing and detecting error, evasion and fraud (EEF) is crucial for social security systems. Error, evasion and fraud have a direct impact on different aspects of social security. On the one hand, the economic impact related to non-collection of contributions and undue delivered benefits may undermine the economic sustainability of the schemes. On the other hand, the non-economic impact concerns the loss of social rights by workers and their dependents, undermining the fair economic competition through social dumping and the loss of trust in the social security system (Goveia and Sosa, 2016).
As the use of digital communication increases, the quality of the services provided is key to their success. In our fast-paced world, in which everything seems to be just a click away, service users expect to be able to find the information they want quickly and simply. Failing this, they may become frustrated and the quality of their user experience is undermined.
The correct interpretation of data is a great challenge faced by all organizations. In an increasingly fast-paced environment, which demands timely and apposite decisions, data analysis has become an increasingly important tool. In particular, in the context of COVID-19, the use of analytical technologies has enabled institutions to better evaluate the health and social impact of the pandemic and to improve decision-making processes.
Universal health coverage (UHC) is a global health priority and access to health care services is one of the most important components of social security. The COVID-19 pandemic has once again highlighted the need for universal access to affordable care. Health care service delivery systems and financing methods have important repercussions for people in accessing and benefitting from health coverage. While national health insurance systems enable comprehensive and equitable access to health-care services in many countries, implementing them involves several challenges.
In social security, a one-stop shop can be defined as a single point of access to several social security organizations or services for the provision of services in a given area. In its widest sense, a one-stop shop aims to simplify access as far as possible to a comprehensive service, in one single place and one single visit, during which a citizen needs to interact with a maximum of one or two different individuals. One-stop shops are usually established to draw together fragmented social security services, enhancing the overlap between them and creating links with other sectors.
Forward-looking members of the International Social Security Association (ISSA) are using behavioural insights as a lens to re-examine existing policies, programmes and services, or to develop new ones. The approach offers a powerful new set of tools to expand and deepen the client-centric orientation of social security, and to ensure the close alignment of services with public goals and desired policy outcomes.
Rehabilitation is a core issue for individuals and social security. Having already been brought to the forefront in the context of ageing societies, the COVID-19 pandemic has further accentuated the important role of rehabilitation, as many coronavirus patients require help to get back to a normal life and work. Rehabilitation programmes that are based on a holistic approach combining care, return-to-work and social benefits, whilst improving cooperation between different actors, have emerged as most promising to effectively meet increasing rehabilitation needs.
Telemedicine is a discipline that involves the use of information and communication technology (ICT) to provide remote medical services. Health-care professionals can use it to carry out prevention activities and those related to the diagnosis, treatment and monitoring of health-care system users, in particular those who are unable to seek care in person.