Legal Frameworks on Social Assistance in Africa


With this webinar series, we invite participants to the discussion on the findings of the recent 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 will be 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 current 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 people are left out of national social assistance systems with no rights to claim access to social transfers in times of need.

This State of Social Assistance reviews legal frameworks on social assistance in all African countries. By deeming access to social assistance an entitlement, a rights-based approach places a clear obligation on the state to deliver social protection and can contribute to improving the accountability mechanisms concerning the provision. This webinar provided critical insights into the legal frameworks governing social assistance in Africa, assessed their alignment with international and regional human rights and social protection instruments, and pointed to the existing gaps in realizing the right to social protection. The human rights implications of Covid-19 crisis on social protection delivery and legislature were also considered in the discussion.



Marius Oliver, Director Institute for Social Law and Policy (ISLP)

David Stewart, Chief of the Child Poverty and Social Protection Unit, UNICEF

Sarah Rattray, Global Policy Specialist for Human Rights, UNDP



Liya Abraham, Regional Programme Officer, UNDP Regional Service Centre for Africa


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