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Question of the Week 24

How do political economy factors explain differences in the integration of social protection programmes in national social and development policies in African countries?

Reactions (8)

Mayke Huijbregts - UNICEF
2017-02-22 10:06

Provision of Social protection to the poorest and most marginalized members of the population, is a rights based obligation by the State and this obligation often derives from the Constitution and has a basis in international conventions. So for States to commit to establish and finance these programmes, a few pertinent questions need to be answered for them to make such decisions:

1) Affordability

2) Sustainability

3) Scalability

4) Dependency

ad 1) For governments to decide to engage, set up and roll out social protection progr... read more »

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    Karen Bett - Development Initiatives
    2017-03-7 10:57

    You make valid points Mayke. I would like to react to point #3 and #4.

    On identification of beneficiaries. Data is now a political factor. Is the data timely, accurate, usable and available? If data is not meeting any of these characteristics, often it is not used to identify the beneficiaries with the most need for the SP investments to be targeted towards them nor does it inform decision making. Again, regular collection of data enables monitoring of beneficiaries to ensure those who graduate out of poverty make 'space' for the needy ones ... read more »

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Kate Pruce - The University of Manchester
2017-02-24 08:52

In Zambia, social cash transfers (SCTs) have made the transition from being a highly donor-driven initiative to being a predominantly government funded and implemented programme. In 2013 a 700% increase in the government budget for SCTs reversed the balance with donor funding, so the government are now contributing over 80% of the total budget. This scale up has continued and the plan is to reach nationwide coverage by the end of 2017, suggesting that the scheme has reached a point of ‘political irreversibility’.

In my recent working paper c... read more »

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Armando Barrientos - University of Manchester
2017-02-28 19:02

The expansion of social protection policies in low- and middle-income countries owes much of its impetus to political economy conditions, especially favourable political conditions associated with economic growth and improved fiscal capacity.  Revenues from the exploitation of natural resources result in social protection expansion where combined with programmatic competition among political parties and democratisation (or at least a weakening of authoritarianism).  The same applies to spells of economic growth leading to improved revenue colle... read more »

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Stephen Kidd - Development Pathways
2017-03-4 15:00

Most donor-supported social protection programmes in Africa are tiny, and have little government support because they target those living in poverty. Have a look at this paper here on the political economy of targeting to understand why this is:


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Donald Kasongi - Governance Links Tanzania
2017-03-7 17:27

The political economy factors for integration of social protection into national social and development programmes in Africa provide clear analyses  : (1)Most programmes have remained pilot schemes depending on “project funding support ” and subjected to pressure to demonstrate value addition in the efforts of marginalised and  vulnerable groups(2) The programmes do not provide space and incentives  for innovation (3) Most schemes are ring fenced and in no way linked to local initiatives for development programming.

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Roeland Hemsteede - University of Dundee
2017-03-23 19:28

I think* whether or not SP programmes become integrated into national development policies (or not) is aided by (among others) the following two dimensions:
1) The historical emergence of cash transfers in the specific country. With this I mean that countries might have several distinct SP schemes running at any given moment: a public works program, a pension scheme, perhaps some child support programmes or an emergency response provided through cash, etc. As these different schemes originate from different objectives and are often controlled ... read more »

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Maria Klara Kuss - United Nations University MERIT’s Graduate School of Governance
2017-10-27 19:13

So far, many of these answers here have equated the ‘integration’ of social protection
programmes with the ‘scale up’ of these interventions. But this is not necessarily the same as
the Zambian case shows us:

Kate already rightly mentioned that the Government of Zambia managed to increase its
budget contribution for SCTs by 700% in 2013 in order to roll out SCTs nation-wide. While
many factors contributed to this expansion, the expansion itself did however not mean that
the scheme had become ‘integrated’ into or transformed Zambia’s nat... read more »

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