Social Protection in Africa: Lessons from Ethiopia, Kenya and Malawi

Course ID
Ethiopian Economics Association (EEA)
Amdissa Teshome

Social protection is emerging as an important development agenda across Africa. Governments are increasingly realising that putting in place good policies and strategies and achieving economic growth are not enough to reach the most vulnerable groups in society particularly those unable to take advantage of the favourable economic environment due to age, disability or other social factors.

This paper used experience of Ethiopia, Kenya and Malawi to argue for long term social protection. Kenya and Malawi have social protection policies and strategies in place and are piloting various approaches with a view to scaling up and informing the policy process. The Ethiopia Productive Safety Net Programme is unique in that it is one of the largest in Africa designed to address chronic food insecurity. Although it is a short term intervention, the experience gained from implementing the programme is informing the path to long term social protection.

For the purpose of this paper, transfer rates and duration of transfers of the PSNP are used as a basis to provide social protection options and estimates of how much it would cost the government. Five options are presented (the first three for cost estimates):
-focus on the current direct support and extend the duration to 12 months;
– focus on children with options of supporting different age groups and going for universal (all children) or poor only defined by the poverty line
– focus on the elderly (over 60 or over 70) and make it universal (all elders) or poor only
– focus on persons with disabilities estimated to be around 7.5 million
– focus on persons living with HIV/AIDS

The paper concludes that Ethiopia should use the PSNP as a historic opportunity to move away from short term thinking to long term solutions. It should design and institutionalised social protection system that is administratively viable, financially affordable, and politically acceptable. Achieving this will require all stakeholders to make long-term resource commitments that amount to ‘social contract’ with Ethiopia’s vulnerable citizens. Kenya and Malawi are on the right track in the sense that they have social protection policies and strategies that guide interventions and most importantly they are testing/piloting schemes with a view to informing the policy process. Ethiopia should closely follow the outcome of the piloting and learn from the process. The UK Department for International Development, as a donor supporting both the Ethiopia and Kenya programmes, has the opportunity to encourage experience sharing between the two countries

Corporate Author: Getnet Alemun & Ethiopian Economic Association/Ethiopian Economic Policy Research Institute
Publisher: Ethiopian Economic Association (EEA)
ISBN/ISSN: 978-99944-54-15-0
Primary Descriptors: Social protection

Geographic Descriptors: Ethiopia, Kenya , Malawi
Cataloge Date: 02/27/2013
Broad Subject heading: Social sector development
Call Number: 330.963 PRO 2010
Serial Key Title: Proceedings of the Seventh International Conference on the Ethiopian Economy
Publication catagory: International Conference
Content type: EEA Publication
Volume: II
Publication date: 2013-05-27 23:10:00
Forum or Discussion date: 2013-02-27 15:09:17
Place of publication: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Type of material: Book
Current frequency: Annualy
Author: Amdissa Teshome