On 31st January 2017 socialprotection.org hosted the webinar ‘Social Protection Investment Case – the example of Uganda’. The session presented a study published in November 2016, which formulates the case for sustained investment in social protection, following the approval of the National Social Protection Policy and its implementation plan by the Government of Uganda. The report includes an impact assessment of Uganda’s Social Assistance Grant for Empowerment (SAGE), in addition to microsimulations and fiscal space analysis.
The webinar was organised by the UNICEF, the Economic Policy Research Institute, and the Government of Uganda, and consisted of a presentation by Michael Samson (Director of Research, Economic Policy Research Institute) and discussion with Diego Angemi (Chief of Social Policy, UNICEF Uganda), moderated by Pamela Dale (Social Policy Specialist, UNICEF Regional Office for Eastern and Southern Africa). The webinar focused on the case of Uganda to demonstrate that social protection investment not only ensures human rights, but also contributes to inclusive social development and equitable economic growth.
Diego Angemi began by giving an overview of social protection investment in Uganda, and the report published. For both the programmes and the report, Diego emphasised the importance of engaging with relevant stakeholders and stakeholder interests. In the case of Uganda, this meant clear and strong engagement with the Government of Uganda. The centrality of stakeholders in developing social protection programmes was emphasised throughout this webinar.
Michael Samson followed with the feature presentation. The Uganda case is important, he started, because very few other investment cases have been built. The report presents strong evidence that social protection is not only central to human rights, but is also an important component of growth and development strategies. Michael continued his presentation with an impact assessment of SAGE, introducing the questions central to the study, and explaining its methodology. In particular, Michael noted that the 2009 and 2013 national surveys provided important bookends to evaluate the impact of the programme of the 15 districts in which it was introduced between 2010 and 2015. The results, Michael demonstrated, showed clearly that SAGE contributes to food security, nutrition and education, with short term improvements also in employment and labour productivity.
Subsequently, in the second half of the session, Michael presented forward analysis of four social protection tools identified in national priority areas: senior citizens grants, disability grants, healthcare for women and children, and child support grants. The analysis of each tool demonstrated their impact on reducing both the poverty gap and poverty headcount. It also included substantial fiscal space analysis, for each tool individually, and in combination, against the additional revenue targets the government aims to mobilize. Overall, the analysis shows that costs for the tools would peak in 2022, and would then fall over time in share of national income as the economy grows. The results show that all programmes are affordable within the additional fiscal space projected by the Government.
Michael concluded his presentation emphasising that the progressive expansion of social protection – including senior citizens grants, disability grants, healthcare for women and children, and child support grants – are clearly affordable for Uganda, and will not only deliver human rights more effectively but will contribute to inclusive social development and equitable economic growth. The report, Michael emphasised, plays an important role in addressing the economic concerns of many policymakers related to social protection programmes.
The webinar continued with a question and answer session with the audience, during which Michael and Diego answered queries concerning the projects methodology, impact and advocacy relations. Giving his final comments of the webinar, Michael stated that investment case mechanisms are key to addressing the questions that policymakers have about social protection. The process requires listening to the concerns of the government and addressing them through research. By this process, this report has been able to demonstrate that social protection in Uganda is affordable, and that it is a powerful investment in social development and economic growth.
Watch the recording of the webinar here!
This blog post is published as part of the Webinar Series, which brings together the summaries of webinars organized by socialprotection.org and partners on a variety of themes related to social protection. If you have any thoughts on the topic discussed, we would love to hear them. Please add your comments below and we will get back to you.