Developing countries in Africa only spend about 3.5% of the GDP on social protection, compared to the world average of 11.2%.
This underinvestment is the reason why over 80% of the population in the region would no protection if they fell ill, got a disability, became unemployed, pregnant or old.
Regional strategies for strengthening social protection amongst the most vulnerable groups in Africa that includes women, children and the elderly was topical during a workshop held from the 6th–8th March 2019 in Tanzania. The workshop which was hosted by the African Platform for Social Protection (APSP) in partnership with the Church of Sweden and Norwegian Church Aid drew various Faith based organisations and Civil society from the Eastern and Southern Africa for the two-day workshop.
Dr Tavengwa Nhongo, Director of the Africa Platform for Social Protection noted that the workshop aimed at strengthening technical and country-specific advocacy skills and strategies for faith based organizations and civil society on how to use their voices to call for social protection as a matter of human rights and to fight inequality.
In his key note address, Dr Nhongo highlighted that Churches, mosques, faith based organizations and Civil society should remain at the forefront of providing social services and support to those living in the socio-economic margins. “They have a critical role to play for just societies and securing social protection for all. They should be part of the national political dialogue on social protection, and advocacy for the coverage of all members of society.”
Dr. Nhongo also shared that in many African countries, social protection programmes are struggling with limited coverage, inadequate benefit levels, fragmentation and weak institutionalization. Some governments undergoing fiscal consolidation are even cutting allowances, instead of extending benefits as countries agreed in the SDGs
Mr Adrian Chokowore who traveled with the Zimbabwean delegation representing AFRODAD, said "We know that social protection policies and systems can make a big difference and are one of the main instruments available to governments in tackling poverty and inequality and meeting the SDGs, Our fight as civil society is to engage government for the realisation of the importance of upholding social protection principles for the benefit of the poor"
Amongst the final resolutions reached, APSP and its stakeholders agreed on a unique and integrated programme that combines: advocacy, programming and implementation as a way in trying to help Eastern and Southern African countries to create awareness and knowledge campaigns on Social Protection.