Social Protection as a tool to fight poverty and ensure inclusive growth is gaining increasing acceptance in Africa. However for Social Protection to be sustainable, demand t must come from the grassroots. The APSP and partner Platforms have prioritized grassroots participation at the various stages of Social Protection rollout – design, implementation, delivery and review.
While SP has been accepted as an important tool for fighting poverty and promoting inclusive growth in a majority of countries in Africa, different countries are on different levels of implementation. Some countries like Ghana have comprehensive SP programmes covering a majority of vulnerable households, while others run small pilot schemes. In both cases, funding and technical expertise in scaling-up remain a challenge.
Demand for Social Protection is in turn dependent on people understanding that there exists a social contract between themselves and the State, and both have obligations and responsibilities. The citizenry should also be aware of existing programmes and have the skills and knowledge to input their ideas at different stages of Social Protection. Grassroots demand for and participation in Social Protection programmes ensure that they become integrated into national development and are more likely to get policy, legal or constitutional support. As the EU study reports, social transfers become “entitlements”, especially when established through legislation as in South Africa and Mauritius, and expenditure on them effectively becomes non-discretionary.