The Effectiveness of Public Works Programmes in Reinforcing the Social Protection System in Namibia

Compared to many African countries, Namibia has a very well-developed social protection system, comprised of seven formal and wholly publicly funded programmes, as well as contributory pension schemes. There are, however, still a large number of Namibians—especially those who are able-bodied albeit with low levels of education and limited-to-no skills— who are excluded from the existing social protection system. Despite impressive economic growth, averaging 5 per cent per annum between 2002 and 2012, and a 40 per cent increase in per capita income between 2004 and 2012, an estimated 29 per cent of the population are still classified as poor, while 30 per cent of the labour force are unemployed. Women and young people are affected most, with unemployment rates of 33 per cent and 53 per cent (for those aged 20–24), respectively.