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(AHD) Social Security: A Fundamental Lifeline for Africa

  • Broadcast in Health
African Views

African Views


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In Africa, social security coverage ranges from 5 to 10 per cent of the population in sub-Saharan Africa and from 20 to over 70 per cent in the continent’s middle-income countries. High levels of informal employment translate into large coverage gaps in many countries, where only small minorities, usually formal-sector employees, have access to comprehensive social security protection. Typically, the rural population, self-employed workers and those marginal to formal labour markets are left vulnerable, being largely excluded from adequate or, indeed, any social protection.

Taking Africa as a whole, most countries have work injury insurance programmes and provide coverage also for old age, disability and survivorship. However, the provision of programmes for cash sickness and maternity benefits as well as health care benefits, family allowances and unemployment benefits is less developed. For example, family allowances are provided in just over half of the countries, while unemployment programmes exist in five only.