Accelerating social protection coverage and sustainable financing in Africa

Social protection

Accelerating social protection coverage and sustainable financing in Africa

Regional dialogue

8 April 2021

Social protection powerfully contributes to reducing poverty, exclusion, and inequality while enhancing political stability and social cohesion.

Key features

Engage in collaborative online discussion on sustainable strategies


Interact in a fully virtual environment while socially distant


Gain insights from global experts and practitioners in the field

Why a Regional Dialogue on Social Protection in Africa?

Despite the relative importance given to social protection, at both regional and national levels, social protection coverage remains very limited on the Continent. Most recent ILO estimates show that (ILO, SSI), Africa has the lowest social protection coverage in the world   - 17.8 of the total population. This is compared with the global average of 45%.

COVID-19 has execrated the situation. The crisis exposed the glaring gaps in social protection and underscored the worrying consequences of insufficient coverage, particularly in the informal sector. It has reinforced the importance of ensuring adequate social protection coverage over the life cycle and across all forms of employment.  

Active efforts to reach the informal economy with social protection during the crisis was curtailed by the challenges of informality, including identification. The crisis however, presents an opportunity to build back better and advance social protection.

The extension of coverage to workers in the informal economy and creating more fiscal space for social protection are major challenges for achieving universal social protection coverage in Africa.

What are the objectives?

This meeting is an opportunity for relevant stakeholders to discuss the policy options for the extension of social protection to workers in informal economy and creating more fiscal space to finance inclusive social protection systems.

Specific objectives are:

  • To discuss the challenges faced by African countries in extending social protection to workers in informal economy as well as good practices;
  • To identify policy options for the extension of social protection to workers in informal economy;
  • To identify sustainable options to finance social protection extension strategies.
What will happen?

The meeting will be held exclusively online and structured into three sessions:

  • Session 1: Challenges for the extension of social protection to workers in informal economy and good practices;
  • Session 2: Financing social protection extension strategies;
  • Session 3: Achieving 40% social protection coverage by 2025: Actions need and way forward

The meeting will be organised by the ILO in close collaboration with the African Union Commission and UNDP Regional Bureau for Africa.

The meeting will be conducted in English, French and Portuguese. Simultaneous interpretation will be available throughout the meeting including in Arabic.

Who attends the Regional Dialogue?
  • AUC representatives – AU Commission and AU Organs
  • Representatives from RECs
  • Representatives from Governments (Ministries in charge of social protection and Finance)
  • Representatives of workers and employers’ organizations at Continental and national level
  • Representatives from social security institutions and social security association
  • Development partners (EU Delegation, EC, SIDA, UK Aid, Irish Aid, SDC AfDB, World Bank, IMF)
  • Civil Society Organizations, Research and academia


Click here to discover the ILO Social Protection Global Technical Team and country profile.