The role of Zakat in the provision of social protection

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Zakat is one of the five pillars of Islam and considered a religious duty for all Muslims above a minimum wealth threshold to help those in need through financial or in-kind contributions. In Muslim-majority countries, it has a long tradition of providing social welfare. Yet, countries vary significantly in the institutionalisation of Zakat and in some contexts, collection and distribution has been channelled through public institutions and are now part of state-provided social protection systems. Against this background, a growing body of research has investigated the role of Zakat as a mechanism to deliver social protection and reduce poverty.

This webinar discussed the role of Zakat Funds in the provision of social protection in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Based on the examples of Algeria and Sudan, different modalities of Zakat, as well as the main advantages and bottlenecks of using Zakat as a social protection mechanism, were described. While Mr. Elamin Ali (Sudanese Zakat Chamber) provided an overview of Zakat in Sudan, where contributions are mandatory, Mr. Zine Barka (Université de Tlemcen) presented his research on the possibility of using Zakat-funded transfers to alleviate poverty in Algeria. At the end, Mr. Mohammad Pournik (UNDP) provided relevant insights into the topic, based on his extensive work experience in the region.   

This webinar is part of a series with experts on social protection in MENA and is organised by the International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth (IPC-IG) and UNICEF MENA Regional Office. Please join the Online Community Social Protection in MENA if you are interested in following the most recent discussions on the topic. 

Presenters:

Zine Barka, Université de Tlemcen, Algeria 

Elamin Ali, Zakat Chamber, Sudan (with consecutive translation from Arabic to English)

Discussant:

Mohammad Pournik, UNDP 

Moderator:

Buthaina Al-Iryani, UNICEF MENA Regional Office