In a world filled with risk and potential, social protection and labor systems help people and families find jobs, improve productivity, cope with shocks, invest in the health and education of their children, and protect the aging population. The World Bank supports social protection and labor programs in developing countries as a central part of its mission to reduce poverty through sustainable and inclusive growth.
Social protection programs comprise of both social assistance (such as cash transfers, school feeding, targeted food assistance and subsidies) and social insurance (such as old-age, survivorship, disability pensions, and unemployment insurance). They can have a direct, positive impact on poor families by building human capital through better health, more schooling, and greater skills.
Jobs, too, are critical for reducing poverty and promoting prosperity. All countries, regardless of income, face challenges creating and sustaining adequate job opportunities for their citizens. According to the 2013 World Development Report, advancing the global jobs agenda will require the right investment in people. People need the right skills for them to secure good employment, the right protection against risks arising from volatile economies, and the right mechanisms to help them transition smoothly and safely from one job to another.
Annual lending for social protection and labor has remained steady, averaging $1.8 billion from 2012 until 2014. The World Bank is also scaling up social safety nets, with $32 million of financing toward the three hardest hit Ebola-affected countries: Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea.
Last Updated: Apr 01, 2015