Publication: Reducing Poverty and Investing in People : The New Role of Safety Nets in Africa
Files in English
For two decades, Africa’s strong economic growth has paved the way for poverty reduction. Nevertheless, high chronic poverty levels persist, and the gap between income groups in terms of human capital and access to basic services is growing. Also, poor households are vulnerable to frequent shocks. By providing regular, reliable support to poor households and helping them invest in productive activities, targeted interventions such as safety nets help reduce persistent poverty, reverse the trend of increasing inequality, and build household resilience. Until recently, safety nets were implemented only on an ad hoc basis in Africa. However, in the wake of the global economic crisis, policy makers are increasingly viewing safety nets as core instruments for reducing poverty and managing risk. Also a momentum toward rationalizing public spending to provide more adequate and targeted support to the poorest is emerging in response to growing evidence that safety nets can successfully reduce poverty and vulnerability and promote inclusive growth. This book assesses the status and analyzes the objectives, features, systems, performance, and financing of safety nets in 22 African countries. It then identifies how governments and donors can strengthen safety net systems and protect and promote poor and vulnerable people. Overall, the book finds that safety nets are on the rise in Africa and are beginning to evolve from fragmented stand-alone programs into integrated systems. Social protection programming has started to change from largely emergency food aid programs to regular, predictable safety nets including targeted cash transfers and cash-for-work programs. Some countries, including Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, and Tanzania, are working toward consolidating their programs into a national system. Impact evaluations of safety nets in Africa are also increasingly being undertaken and, with recent research into the productive aspects of cash transfer programs, have yielded encouraging evidence that safety nets reduce poverty and vulnerability. The timely analysis of safety nets in Africa provides a solid foundation for evidence-based policy dialogue and programming. As a result of the growing body of evidence that safety nets contribute to inclusive growth, African decision makers are now putting safety nets high on their development agendas.
“Monchuk, Victoria. 2014. Reducing Poverty and Investing in People : The New Role of Safety Nets in Africa. Directions in Development--Human Development;. © Washington, DC: World Bank. http://hdl.handle.net/10986/16256 License: CC BY 3.0 IGO.”
Other publications in this report series
PublicationConnecting the Disconnected : Coping Strategies of the Financially Excluded in Bhutan(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2013-03-12)In the spring of 2012, the Royal Monetary Authority of Bhutan and the World Bank commissioned a diagnostic assessment of financial practices and strategies among urban and rural Bhutanese. The resulting survey, the Bhutan financial inclusion focus group survey, represents one of the first efforts to capture household financial management practices in the country. The assessment, undertaken at the request of a government working group led by the Royal Monetary Authority, was designed to inform Bhutan's Financial Inclusion Policy by providing information about households' use of and demand for financial services. Since the research mainly captures the perspectives of Bhutanese households, this report does not present recommendations. Instead, its findings from the field research provide qualitative evidence that has informed the financial inclusion policy by highlighting opportunities and challenges in increasing financial inclusion.
PublicationChina's Pension System : A Vision(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2013-02-27)China is at a critical juncture in its economic transition. A comprehensive reform of its pension and social security systems is an essential element of a strategy aimed toward achieving a harmonious society and sustainable development. Among policy makers, a widely held view is that the approach to pension provision and reform efforts piloted over the last 10-15 years is insufficient to enable China's economy and population to realize its development objectives in the years ahead. This volume suggests a national pension system that no longer distinguishes along urban and rural locational or hukou lines yet takes account of the diverse nature of employment relations and capacity of individuals to make contributions. This volume is organized as follows: the main text outlines this vision, focusing on summarizing the key features of a proposed long-term pension system. It first examines key trends motivating the need for reform then outlines the proposed three-pillar design and the rationale behind the design choices. It then moves on to examine financing options. The text continues by discussing institutional reform issues, and the final section concludes. The six appendixes provide additional analytical detail supporting the findings in the main text. The pension system design can play an important role in supporting or constraining such economic and demographic transitions: 1) fragmentation and lack of portability of rights hinder labor market efficiency and contribute to coverage gaps; 2) multiple schemes for salaried workers, civil servants, and, in some areas, migrants similarly impact labor markets; 3) legacy costs that are largely financed through current pension contributions weaken incentives for compliance and accurate wage reporting; 4) very limited risk pooling and interurban resource transfers limit the insurance function of the urban pension system and create spatial disparities in old-age income protection; 5) low retirement ages affect incentives and benefits and undermine fiscal sustainability; and 6) relatively low returns on individual accounts result in replacement rates significantly less than anticipated while at the macro level, are likely to inhibit wider efforts to stimulate higher domestic consumption.
PublicationReaching Across the Waters : Facing the Risks of Cooperation in International Waters(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2012)This study reviews the experience of cooperation in selected international river basins and during selected time periods in those basins. The review is from a country perspective and focuses on the countries' perceived risks and opportunities in engaging in regional cooperation deals in response to the prospects for cooperation. It is primarily aimed at external development partners who promote regional public goods (river basin institutions and agreements) and support cooperative activities and investments in international waters. We also believe that countries and individuals engaged in international waters issues will find this study and reflections helpful in enhancing their knowledge and advancing their actions with respect to regional cooperation. The specific purpose of the study is to alert teams engaged in promoting cooperation in international waters to the need for a careful risk analysis and for the formulation of a risk reduction strategy to help countries move toward cooperation.
PublicationThe Economics of Gender in Mexico : Work, Family, State, and Market(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2001-04)This report examines gender differences in the Mexican economy, with a focus on the labor market. It examines gender issues over the course of the life cycle, beginning with education and child labor, continuing with adult urban and rural labor force participation, and concluding with the situation of elderly Mexican men and women. While each chapter uses different data sources and analytical methodologies, the volume as a whole is guided by a gender perspective that examines the situations of both men and women as distinct groups and in relationship to one another. Drawing on national labor market statistics, specialized regional household surveys, and firm-level data, the chapters that comprise the volume are rich in detailed quantitative analysis, which is presented in relatively non-technical language. This report has its origins in the commissioning of a series of technical papers by the World Bank, in collaboration with several Mexican government agencies, including the Comision Nacional de la Mujer and the Secretaria de Hacienda y Credito Publico. A number of additional studies resulted from the first national Workshop on Gender Analysis and Public Policies in April 1997.
PublicationRental Housing : Lessons from International Experience and Policies for Emerging Markets(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2013-03-22)This book rental housing lessons from international experience and policies for emerging market is an effort to bring rental housing to the forefront of the housing agenda of countries around the world and to provide general guidance for policy makers whose actions can have an effect on where and how people live. It warns of the challenges they face and provides guidelines on how to develop or redevelop a sound rental sector. it can enable key players in housing markets be they government officials, private rental property owners, financiers, or nongovernmental organizations to add rental housing as a critical housing option and to have an informed discussion on how best to stimulate this sector. The housing policy of most nations focused on increasing home ownership. There had been very little discussion about rental housing, less about social housing, and virtually none about public housing. This book includes totally five chapters: chapter one is introduction; chapter two is the rental market and its players; chapter three is legal, tax, and financial issues; chapter four is recommendations and conclusion; chapter five is country experiences.