Social security developments and trends – Africa 2023

Recognition of social security as a fundamental human right, a growing acceptance of the merits of comprehensive and adequate social protection for realizing societal well-being, and heightened international and national political commitment are driving efforts to expand effective access to social protection to uncovered population groups as well as to extend the scope of existing coverage. In Africa, as elsewhere, social protection interventions are designed to respond to the contingencies to which people, families and households may be exposed over the life course. However, in the region, the challenge of extending social security coverage is heightened by an ever-increasing number of people living in poverty and multi-dimensional deprivation. Conventional social security programmes in the form of social insurance and employer liability arrangements are designed to address the risks and meet the needs of workers in the formal economy. The further extension of conventional employment-based and contributory social security programmes is hindered by the fact that improved levels of national economic growth have not resulted in similarly improved levels of formal employment. Furthermore, the growth of new forms of work in the expanding digital economy, where the legal status of workers, and thus their rights to social security, may be disputed, presents a further challenge for policy makers and social security administrations. Generally, in recognition of the prevailing socioeconomic reality of uncovered population groups and to extend coverage to previously excluded groups, governments are adapting legislation, especially concerning social assistance interventions and by providing legal access to contributory social security programmes to self-employed workers and informal economy workers through voluntary social insurance arrangements. programmes to self-employed workers and informal economy workers through voluntary social insurance arrangements.

This report presents a regional perspective on social security developments and trends as well as identifying challenges and spotlighting innovations. Similar to the ISSA global report prepared for the 2022 World Social Security Forum in Morocco, this regional report is presented in an interactive web-based format that will enable members of the International Social Security Association (ISSA) to navigate the content with ease and facilitate knowledge sharing. Your browser does not support the video tag.