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Africa Social Safety Net and Social Protection Assessment Series

Until recently, most countries in Africa implemented safety nets and social protection programs only on an ad hoc basis. In the wake of the global economic, food and fuel price crises starting in 2008, however, policymakers in Africa began to increasingly view safety nets as core instruments for reducing poverty, addressing inequality, and helping poor and vulnerable households to manage risk more effectively.

During FY2009-2013, to support governments in their quest to understand better how to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of safety nets in their countries, the World Bank’s Africa Region undertook social safety net or social protection assessments in a number of countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. By 2014, assessments have been completed or are under preparation for over 25 countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

These assessments analyze the status of social protection programs and safety nets, their strengths and weaknesses and identify areas for improvement, all with the aim of helping governments and donors to strengthen African safety net systems and social protection programs to protect and promote poor and vulnerable people. They were all carried-out with the explicit aim of informing governments’ social protection policies and programs. With the results of analytical work like these assessments and other types of support, safety nets and social protection programs are rapidly changing across Africa.

For a cross-country regional review, please see "Reducing Poverty and Investing in People: The New Role of Safety Nets in Africa," which pulls together the findings and lessons learned from these assessments and other recent studies of safety net programs in Africa.