Institutionalisation of Social Assistance in African Countries


In this webinar series, we invited participants to the discussion on the findings of the report The State of Social Assistance in Africa, developed by UNDP in partnership with the African Union and in collaboration with, ILO, UNECA and UNICEF. Each webinar was devoted to one of the three foundational dimensions of social assistance –financing, institutions and legal frameworks. Drawing on a comprehensive dataset covering over 100 social assistance programmes (see African social assistance data platform) and featuring all countries on the continent, the report argues for strengthening the national architecture of social assistance as one of the pathways to reduce vulnerability and poverty while also tackling social inclusion and inequality.

The COVID-19 crisis has exposed the importance of social assistance systems in creating resilience to crisis and strengthening countries’ disaster risk response; it also has exposed that many countries do not have institutionalised social assistance programmes that provide comprehensive coverage to people in times of need. Institutions play an important role in determining whether social assistance entitlements are realised and how social assistance programmes are implemented. The State of Social Assistance in Africa report states that efficient government structures as well as transparent rules and accountability mechanisms are key to ensure that persons receive entitlements in a manner that enables recipients to reap full benefits. In this third and last session of the State of Social Assistance webinar series, our presenters discussed the institutionalisation of social assistance in African countries and shared their reflections on how institutions relate to countries' ability to respond to the COVID-19 crisis.  



Stephen Devereux, Research Fellow and co-Director of the Centre for Social Protection, Institute of Development Studies

Valentina Barca, Senior Consultant for Social Protection

Jane Marie Ong’olo, African Union, Head of Division, Social Welfare, Vulnerable Groups and Drug Control



Rômulo Paes de Souza, Senior Investigator, Fiocruz


This was the third webinar of the Webinar Series on The State of Social Assistance in Africa, organised by the UNDP.