Development Centre

Inclusive Social Protection Systems in Sub-Saharan Africa


Open to the media

Inclusive Social Protection Systems in Sub-Saharan Africa

Two-day conference (19-20 February 2019)

Africa Union Commission, Roosevelt Street (Old Airport Area) Addis Ababa, Ethiopia



Over the past 15 years, many African countries have achieved impressive economic growth. Africa’s gross domestic product grew by 4.7% per year on average between 2000 and 2017, making it the world’s second fastest-growing region. Nevertheless, the number of people living in extreme poverty is on the rise in Sub-Saharan Africa. The region is characterised by low levels of social protection (coverage ranges between 6% -20%) and contributory social security coverage in particular. National spending on social protection is below 2% of GDP on average, and at times below 1%. Furthermore, labour market programmes to support the integration of a rapidly growing youth cohort into decent jobs are poorly developed.


Yet this is changing. Following the adoption of the African Union (AU) Social Policy Framework (2008) and with important support from development partners, African countries are implementing and scaling up social protection policies and strategies. These efforts are reflected by the first Ten-Year Implementation Plan of the AU’s Agenda 2063, which aims to extend social protection coverage to at least 30% of vulnerable populations, including persons with disabilities, older persons and children, and at giving access to social security to at least 20% of the informal sector and rural labour by 2030.


These topics, and recent successes in expanding social protection across Africa, will be at the heart of a two-day conference in Addis Ababa on 19-20 February 2019. Experts from different countries as well as regional and international organisations will gather to discuss best practices and evidence on key questions for policy makers as they look to continue the progress of social protection. These will include how to expand social protection in a context of high informality, how to increase financing for social protection, how to improve provision for vulnerable groups, how to develop social protection capacity across the region and how to improve coordination between countries.


Speakers include: 

- Cissé Mariama Mohamed, AUC Director of Social Affairs

- Ranieri Sabatucci, EU Delegation Ambassador to the AU

- Mario Pezzini, Director of the OECD Development Centre and Special Advisor to the OECD Secretary General on Development

- Esther Lusepani, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare of Namibia

- Barnaby Bwalya Mulenga, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security of Zambia


The conference is jointly organised by, the African Union Commission (AUC), the OECD Development Centre, the European Union (EU) delegation to the AU, SOCIEUX+ and the EU-Social Protection Systems Initiative.


Further information, including a full agenda, is available on the conference website.


Join the conversation on Twitter: @OECD_Centre with #ISPSAddis


To register attendance or submit interview requests journalists should contact Bochra Kriout in the OECD Development Centre Media Office (Tel.:+33 1 45 24 82 96).


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