Pastoralism and social protection From the margins: findings and avenues for reflection on social protection policies in Africa

At a time when political crises are dramatically amplifying ongoing structural transformations in rural areas across the West African Sahel and the Horn of Africa, new demands are emerging for not only productive but also civic rights for pastoral populations that have historically been politically marginalized. This paper, which considers social protection schemes as a potentially key element in the relationship with the state in rural areas and thus in the foundation of a social contract in African dry lands, proposes to open up avenues for reflection by drawing on the example of pastoralists, who are held to be illustrative of the most marginalised populations. A literature review allows for an analysis of the conditions of different social protection schemes and their effects, with a view to formulating an agenda for developing social protection programmes offering universal coverage. Reflecting the central role of development institutions in this field, a first part proposes to better contextualize the “universal” or “targeted” programmes that underpin development interventions. A second part focuses on instituted forms of redistribution in pastoral areas, highlighting their diversity, their practical norms and their dynamics as they interact with the transfer mechanisms implemented in public action.