Implementing a Public Policy to Extend Social Security to Informal Economy Workers in Zambia

This article analyses the strengths and bottlenecks of institutional capacity between social security institutions implementing the reform in Zambia, which focuses to provide social security to small-scale dairy farmers, a group of informal economy workers. Zambia’s informal economy workers absorb over 80 per cent of the labour force. This is a qualitative study of institutional capacity in the extension of social security. Twenty-one interviews were conducted with participants from Farmers’ Cooperatives (MCC), National Pension Scheme Authority (NAPSA), and Dairy Association of Zambia (DAZ). We selected participants through a purposive sampling technique. We reflected on data using a Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research (CFIR) built on thematic analysis. Analysis suggests that the institutions of the partnership are committed towards extending social security to informal economy workers. There was low involvement of local NAPSA officers in the project design and their role during implementation of the pension extension was unclear. This contributed to a lack of trust by some non-NAPSA members towards social security institutions. Knowledge and beliefs about the capabilities of implementers were essential in the activities for implementing the public policy on the extension of social security. However, there are several implementation lacunas concerning the process, its overarching infrastructure, and adequate human resources. There is a critical need to address gaps in process and procedures, equipment and materials, infrastructure, human resource, trust, and knowledge of context for the extension of social security to informal economy workers in Zambia. This could make the new public policy scheme more attainable.