Social security crucial for African development, says new ISSA report
Social security provides an increasingly effective and sustainable way to ensure long-term development in Africa, according to a new report released by the International Social Security Association (ISSA).
Dynamic Social Security for Africa: An Agenda for Development analyzes the most important recent developments and trends in social security in Africa. The report highlights progress of social security in several crucial areas, including improvements in administration and the extension of coverage.
In examples from throughout the continent, the report details how social security polices have enhanced poverty reduction, access to health care and improved protection of groups not previously covered, including the older population and people working in the informal sector.
"After decades of structural adjustment, social security is back on the African agenda. African social security systems are playing a key role in the development of their societies and economies, and are transforming the lives and hopes of millions of people," said Hans-Horst Konkolewsky, ISSA Secretary General.
The report's conclusions underline that significant and substantial steps forward have been taken in improving social security in Africa in recent years. Despite these achievements, the challenges facing Africa remain large, the report concludes. Coverage remains limited in most countries, and millions of people in Africa have no social protection.
The report identifies priority areas, including old-age security, social health protection and improved governance, which need to be tackled in a new and collaborative way if social security is to fulfil its role in social development on the continent. It calls on policy-makers to ensure that social security is a permanent ingredient in national strategies for poverty reduction, pro-poor economic growth and sustainable livelihoods.
Regional Social Security Forum for Africa
The research for the report was carried out in preparation for the Regional Social Security Forum for Africa, in Kigali, Rwanda, 18-20 November 2008. A highlight of the Forum will be a high-level Summit involving ministers and high-level policy-makers from the region and representatives of international organizations. The Forum is organized by the ISSA in collaboration with the Social Security Fund of Rwanda.
The Developments and Trends report Dynamic Social Security for Africa: An Agenda for Development , is published by the International Social Security Association, and may be downloaded.
Dynamic Social Security for Africa: Extending social protection for development , a summary of the report's main findings, is also available.