Technical seminar on the extension of social security coverage in Africa: Approaches and prospects

Introduction

Developing countries are faced with the challenges of poverty reduction, access to care, schooling for all, and inadequate socio-economic infrastructure, despite the many advances of recent years. Such countries, however, have a young population and abound in major economic potential.

The share of the population not covered by an adequate social security system is today estimated at more than 80 per cent, especially among the population of sub-Saharan Africa, even though those countries have adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, one of the most important objectives of which is social security for all. Those affected are mostly to be found among the self-employed, the rural world, the informal sector and the unemployed.

Social security for all guarantees social justice and promotes socio-economic development.

In this context, most countries in the region have undertaken significant progressive reforms, including the following:

The extension of social security coverage to informal sector workers and other occupational categories in society that are difficult to cover;
The introduction or enhancement of social security benefits such as sickness insurance, family benefits, and benefits for occupational accidents and diseases;
The creation of supplementary schemes;
The establishment of integrated national social protection programmes based on the Social Protection Floors Recommendation, 2012 (No. 202) of the International Labour Organization (ILO).

Objectives of the seminar

The objective of the technical seminar is to enable experts from social security funds in the region to discuss current practices and reforms aimed at extending social protection coverage in their respective countries. Their exchanges will provide an opportunity to take stock of the achievements made, to shed light on the difficulties encountered, and to discuss ways of overcoming them.

The seminar will also offer an opportunity to take delivery of the ISSA Guidelines onAdministrative Solutions for Coverage Extension.

The programme will be divided into three sessions focusing on the following:

Extending coverage to the self-employed and hard-to-reach populations;
Enhancing existing benefits and the creation of new benefits such as sickness insurance;
Supplementary retirement schemes.

A communication session on the ISSA, its products, and the services it offers to its Members will also be held during the seminar.