Kuwait: A New Social Safety Net Strategic Framework for Inclusive and More Equitable Coverage

April 8, 2013

The State of Kuwait and the World Bank launch a Technical Cooperation Program

Kuwait City, April 7, 2013 –- The State of Kuwait and the World Bank launched today a Technical Cooperation Program (TCP) for the development of a Social Safety Net (SSN) strategic framework over the coming two years. Under the TCP, the World Bank will support the Government of Kuwait in undertaking an assessment of existing social safety net policies and programs, and develop a Social Safety Net Strategic Framework consistent with international practices and grounded in Kuwait’s socio-economic context.

The Government of Kuwait has ensured high levels of welfare and generous social support to its citizens through public sector social assistance and welfare programs, guaranteeing public employment to all Kuwaiti citizens and providing free education and health services. However, given the economic and social changes brought on by macroeconomic developments, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor (MOSAL) would benefit from a review of the current programs to determine how well the current system functions as well as ways to improve gaps in coverage, benefit adequacy and equity.  

“Among the priorities of the Ministry is for the significant economic growth to cover various households and social strata and especially individuals subject to difficulties” said H.E. Zikra Ayed Al Rashidi, Minister of Social Affairs and Labor.The objective of social safety net programs in Kuwait will thus be to protect and support these households and individuals so that they integrate their society efficiently”.

A strategic SSN framework would lead to better investments in human capital and the promotion of the welfare of specific groups within the population such as children; youth; women; families; and persons with disabilities. 

Kuwait has traditionally been a leader among GCC countries in the provision of social programs to its citizens,” said Bassam Ramadan, World Bank Country Manager in Kuwait. “Under this program, the ministry will benefit from the Bank’s global and extensive experience in social protection and safety nets. The proposed technical activities will be well aligned with the ministry’s mandate and the set of priorities identified in Kuwait’s Mid-range Development Plan which continues until 2014”.

The development of the SSN Strategic Framework will start with an assessment of current programs, their implementation arrangements and the degree of their effectiveness and impact. The assessment will be followed by a series of consultations with key stakeholder groups to reach a better understanding of issues and to validate findings. The development of the SSN Strategic Framework will build on the assessment and consultations to propose a set of policy recommendations that will better align the institutional, technical and financial resources of MOSAL. A comprehensive awareness campaign will ensure the wide dissemination of the new SSN Strategic Framework to lay the groundwork for the implementation of changes and gather buy-in.

“The program involves a heavy emphasis on capacity building in order to lay the groundwork for a sustainable and Kuwaiti-led social safety net system,” said Surat Nsour, World Bank Task Team Leader. “With training in implementation, monitoring and evaluation, the ministry staff will be well placed to take over all tasks related to the system once the preparatory work is complete. This transfer of knowledge is crucial to the overall success of Kuwait’s social safety net, and to the ministry’s long-term ability to implement its social assistance programs successfully. “

In addition to an overview of the current programs and the TCP planned activities, the three day launch event (April 7 to 9, 2013) will present international case studies and best practices in SSN design and delivery, including cash and in-kind transfer programs, targeting mechanisms, case management, monitoring and evaluation programs

Media Contacts
In Washington
Lara Saade
Tel : (202) 473-39887
In Kuwait
Fatma Al Ibrahim
Tel : (965) 2291 3504