Natalia Abril Bonilla

 (International Institute of Social Studies, The Netherlands)

E-mail: abrilbonilla@iss.nl.

Title of Paper: Enduring CSR: the social policies of banana companies in rural Colombia.


In the banana producing regions of Colombia, rural communities receive most of their health care, education and housing infrastructure from the CSR programs of the banana trading companies. In this paper, I analyse the persistence of CSR and its social policies to address the needs of the rural communities where the trading companies operate, despite its shortcomings. CSR initiatives aim to respond to the pressing social and environmental demands of global development. In Latin America in general and in Colombia in particular, banana agribusinesses have implemented social policies (on education, nutrition, sexual and reproductive rights, and housing loans, etc.) through their CSR schemes as a way to gain local trust and consolidate stable labour conditions. However, the same banana companies have been involved in water grabbing and land dispossession of the rural communities to whom the CSR programs are directed to. Moreover, they have been involved with the armed groups who have displaced the communities where they aim to gain local trust. Through an archival review and a network analysis, I show the way in which the pre-existing set of ideas and practices of CSR as an institutional field interact with the decision-making process of key actors in the banana industry in Colombia. The paper intends to contribute to the knowledge of social protection and social policies in rural contexts, by analysing the political economy of CSR and shedding light to the number of institutions that provide social policies in the global south, such as agribusinesses and their CSR’s.


Professor Jimi Adesina

 (University of South Africa, South Africa)

E-mail: adesij@unisa.ac.za.

Title of Paper: Rethinking Social Policy with Thandika Mkandawire.


The emergence of Social Policy as a formal field of the study of the norm, institutions, and mechanisms for delivering on human well-being is largely a post-World War II phenomenon, which draws on disciplines such as Economics, Sociology, Psychology, Politics, and Law. The configuration and norms underpinning the pursuit of well-being reflect the balance of contending social forces and ideational commitments in different context. The paradox of Social Policy as a field of study is that at its height and as the construction of welfare regime types came to dominate the field, especially within the dominant OECD context, the focus of the field shrunk to a set of policy instruments designed to protection against the vagaries of the life cycle. This is against a more expansive take on Social Policy among its leading policy pioneers and scholars.

The neoliberal turn brought with it a severe retrenchment in imagination of the aspirations for the acceptable floor of human well-being. With its aversion to collective provisioning, a commitment to market transactional logic, and residual take on social policy, neoliberalism generated a diminution of social policy imagination Against, this background the idea of development underwent a retraction—from the structural transformation of economy and society to the alleviation of poverty.

In this paper, we critically explore the contributions of Thandika Mkandawire to the rethinking Social Policy in late 20th century and enunciate the idea of Transformative Social Policy that he advance.


Dr Olayinka Akanle

 (University of Ibadan, Nigeria/University of Johannesburg, South Africa, Nigeria)

E-mail: yakanle@yahoo.com.

Title of Paper: The Coronavirus Pandemic in Ibadan, Nigeria: Democratic State Responses and Glocal Existentialities.


Ibadan is an indigenous but aggressively modernizing social and cultural setting in Oyo state Nigeria. Even though the city has been modernizing, the modernization processes have been very stable and gradual. Oyo state has unique experiences in the contagion, state responses and outcomes/consequences relative to the Coronavirus pandemic. Ibadan as the capital of Oyo state is at the center of the unique experiences of Coronavirus Pandemic. The intersectionalities of experiences in Ibadan in the pandemic offer very important perspectives that the world can learn from relative to democratic state governance, development, transformative and systemic social policy. This paper therefore examines Ibadan as a context of the Coronavirus pandemic in Nigeria from a glocal Perspective. The remits of the paper relative to the pandemic in Ibadan are people’s experiences, democratic government responses and the people’s responses to the coronavirus pandemic within micro-macros worldviews. This paper offers original insights into the Coronavirus pandemic in manners that are useful for scholarship, social policy and practice secondary and original primary data gathered through in-depth interviews (IDIs).

Co-Author(s): EwaJesu Opeyemi Okewumi, Demilade Kayode, Irenitemi Abolade, Olayinka Ola-Lawson

Dr Olayinka Akanle

 (University of Ibadan, Nigeria/University of Johannesburg, South Africa, Nigeria)

E-mail: yakanle@yahoo.com.

Title of Paper: Migration for Poverty and Inequality Reduction in Sub-Saharan Africa:  Migration Partnerships as Antithesis.


International Migration is one of the most vexed issues across the world. This is largely because of the differential outcomes of migration across contexts. While migrants-receiving countries face complicated migration consequences, migrants-sending nations, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa, receive remittances that are crucially needed for poverty/inequality reduction but not without suffering diplomatic backlashes. It is against this background that countries, regions and governments put in place policies and strategies to manage migrations as social realities. These policies and strategies are however, not without issues especially relative to effectiveness and sustainability. Major innovative policies and strategies targeted at migration management, especially from the North, are migration partnerships. Migration partnerships, even though increasingly popular, are however not without issues and this paper argues that for migration partnerships to be objective, livelihood issues of partnering people/states/regions must be well accounted for especially relative to remittances, poverty/inequality, underdevelopment and social inclusion in Sub-Saharan Africa. Power distance/power asymmetries and existentialities among partnering nations/people must be well understood and addressed. This paper therefore examines the European Union (EU) migration partnerships in West Africa with particular Nigeria’s scenario as case study to contribute importantly to knowledge on poverty and inequality reduction through migration not only in Europe but beyond.


Dr Kennedy A. Alatinga

 (SD Dombo University of Business and Integrated Development Studies, Wa, Ghana)

E-mail: kalatinga@ubids.edu.gh.

Title of Paper: Migrant female head porters’ experiences and national social policy response in times of COVID-19: policy implications for universal social protection in Ghana..


Female head porters are migrants from the poorer northern parts of Ghana to wealthier southern Ghana—where they work by carrying loads of goods on their heads for shoppers and shop keepers for undetermined fees in the urban markets. The fees for their services are neither determined by the distance traveled, weight of goods transported nor market forces of demand and supply. The head porters are usually unskilled. Their unskilled nature makes them less competitive and have limited bargaining power as far as the wages for their labour are concerned. This paper explored migrant female head porters’ experiences and national social policy responses in times of COVID-19, particularly during the period of the lockdown and the policy implications thereof for universal social protection in Ghana. Using an explorative qualitative study design, 24 migrant female head porters were purposively sampled for the study, in Ghana’s capital city, Accra. The study revealed weaknesses in the social protection system. The established that there is no specific social protection scheme for the vulnerable such as female head porters in Ghana. The paper also revealed that the locked down led to food insecurity, reduced incomes and remittances, increased levels of poverty, poor health among the female head porters. It is recommended that government, through the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, expedites action to introduce social protection schemes for the vulnerable such female head porters to mitigate their vulnerabilities in times of shocks such as the COVID-19 experience.


Dr Mohammed Ali

 (Bahir Dar Universty, Ethiopia)

E-mail: mohammedseid1997@gmail.com.

Title of Paper: Curbing the Collective Voices of Workers in Ethiopia’s State-led Industrialization.


This article aims to examine the labour control practices in Ethiopia’s State-led industrialization by taking the actual track records of selected apparel sourcing firms at three selected industrial parks of the country. The ideological and actual industrial policy externality of Ethiopia’s state-led industrialization on the collective voices of local industrial workers has been analyzed. Since 2005, Ethiopia has experimented with the East Asian development model of state-led industrial development. As such, facilitating industrial catch-up has been the country’s underlying ideological and industrial policy imperative. In other words, ensuring the voices of industrial workers has not been the country’s industrial policy priority and it has been assumed as a threat to Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). Hence, the ideology has firmly stood for the strong business-state alliance which ultimately has curbed the collective voices of the country’s industrial workers. As a result, Ethiopia’s active industrial policy has employed various mechanisms to debilitate representative labour institutions such as the Confederation of Ethiopian Trade Unions (CETU) and Minister of Labor and Social Affairs (MoLSA). Moreover, the government has employed diverse de facto or de jure labour control mechanisms, particularly across the country’s Industrial Parks (IPs) to silence workers’ quests for associational rights. Additionally, employing industries have enforced various forms of administrative and punitive measures to subdue the collective voices of their workers. Unless the government navigates towards industrialization with a human face, the voices of local industrial workers will remain marginal.


Muez Ali

 (LSE, UCL and Sudan’s Ministry of Finance, Sudan/UK)

E-mail: m.a.ali@ucl.ac.uk.

Title of Paper: The curious appeal of cash transfers across three diverging political contexts in Sudan.


Cash transfers first emerged in Sudan through the attempts by the World Food Program (WFP) to make food aid more market driven. These programs led to the build-up of expertise among Sudanese professionals within international institutions and also created datasets on populations in conflict areas. To a certain extent, the former regime was able to influence eligibility to its political advantage. After the secession of South Sudan in 2011, and the corresponding loss of oil, Sudan introduced strategic subsidies, which placed increasing pressure on the budget. At this point, cash transfers were re-imagined as a useful tool to cushion against the political costs of subsidy reform. The World Bank and the donor community supported these efforts although implementation took place within the politically affiliated Ministry of Welfare and Social Security and the Zakat Chamber. Following the revolution, international actors made it clear that subsidy reform was a condition for debt relief. Regime personnel were replaced with Sudanese experts seconded from international institutions and administrative control shifted towards the Ministry of Finance. Implementation would now involve telecommunication companies and the WFP. Some of our interviewees saw the program simply as a ‘World Bank idea’ but it was largely driven by Sudanese domestic actors, who sought to use it to drive a broader digital transformation of the economy and to integrate marginal areas within national social protection databases. The Sudanese case demonstrates the importance of international institutions in shaping domestic expertise within authoritarian contexts. Sudanese experts have domesticated international ideas to suit their own political visions within Sudan’s shifting political context.   

Co-Author(s): Dr. Laura Mann

Dr Gabriel Asante

 (Corvinus University of Budapest, Hungary, Hungary)

E-mail: gabito207@gmail.com.

Title of Paper: Configuration of Fee-free policies at the High School level: A cross-national qualitative comparative analysis of Sub-Saharan Africa.


Following the widespread adoption and implementation of Education for All and the World Education Forum at Dakar under Millennium Development Goals in 2000, school enrolment at the basic level of education increased in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Governments are shifting attention to upper secondary education using fee-free policies as social interventions. High school education is argued to be an important component of human capital formation and improve democratic processes. However, little is known about the sufficient condition(s) to cause fee-free policy or the absence of it at the high school level in SSA. This study applies set-theoretic method through fuzzy set qualitative comparative analysis with data from 7 countries. Five potential causal conditions argued from the social policy literature are analysed. They include regime type, electoral competition, ideological lineage, social context, and economic conditions. The data collected from different international data sources were recorded during 2010-2020. The findings provide significant influence of electoral competition and high level of lower secondary school enrolment on the adoption of fee-free policies at the high school level. Notwithstanding, the absence of electoral competition is sufficient for the absence of fee-free policy. The coverage explains how elections as one component of democracy compel political leaders to initiate social policies. This also means that continuous investment to improve the overall level of democracy is necessary for the development of SSA. Additionally, the study challenges the relevance of two important explanations of the literature on expansionary social policy – the traditional partisan theory of policy outcomes and the economy.


Dr Kambo Martial Atse

 (Felix Houphouet-Boigny University of Abidjan-Cocody/ PanAfrican University Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire(Ivory Coast))

E-mail: atsejeanmartial@yahoo.fr.

Title of Paper: “Gendered and Transformative Social Policy in  in post-COVID-19 Africa” Multi-country research proposal in selected countries in West Africa: Benin, Burkina-Faso and Côte d’Ivoire .


The improvement of social conditions in Africa, as elsewhere, calls for development actions.  development. However, the fragmentation of social actions in the search for the well-being of  populations of Benin, Burkina Faso and Côte d’Ivoire is obvious and poses real problems of  coherence in terms of goals, sustainability and construction of meaning. Faced with the multiform needs  that expose social actors to precariousness and vulnerability, as well as the risks that emerge with the that emerge with the rise of inequalities, it is almost impossible to ignore the path of research on the  research on the essential changes to be made. Thus, the objective of this project is to research  not only the effects of COVID-19 on the state of social policy, but more importantly, to start from the historical and  the historical and contemporary trajectory of disparate, heterogeneous and sometimes contradictory social action  and sometimes contradictory in Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire and more broadly in the countries of West  West African countries, to rethink the construction of social policy. The investigation  involves a methodological approach that revolves around an in-depth study of available  available documents, interviews with social actors, key persons including political and administrative authorities  administrative authorities, and the heads of institutions involved in the elaboration of public  public policies. At the end of this process, an inventory of the evolution of the social situation in of the countries in the field of the study, in correlation with the actions and policies with a social aim  undertaken, will make it possible to envisage, within the framework of an active and committed research network, a change of course in terms of social development in African countries.

Co-Author(s): TEKOU Vidaley Fabrice

Dr Bassey Ayek

 (University of Nigeria Nsukka, Nigeria)

E-mail: revbasseyayek1975@gmail.com.

Title of Paper: Critical Reflections on social policy responses to the Covid-19 pandemic in Eastern Nigeria.


The devastating effect of Covid-19 has brought untold afflictions, unparalleled economic and personal tragedies on families. Although the level of infections in Africa is low as compare to the other continents in the world, the eastern states of Nigeria has had their share of the disaster. As a means to control the spread of coronavirus pandemic, Nigerian government adopted lockdown measures. These measures however brought dangerous aftermath effects on the eastern states. It becomes inevitable for a well coordinated and strategic response by the authorities. These responses came in different dimensions such as; release of public funds to address the capacity of health systems, financial support to entrepreneurs to ameliorate the devastating effect on the economy, grants and incentives to employers. These steps are the social policy responses to help citizens cushion the effects of Covid-19 pandemic. Leveraging on the Nigerian government social response policies, the states adopted emergency response plans to improve on the income of the most affected and vulnerable citizens. There are however, lamentations on the distribution of government palliatives by the masses. Citizens allege that the processes of distribution of palliatives have been politicized. Issues bordering on insincere distribution, politicization of the processes of distribution of the palliatives, lack of laid down parameters for determining the most vulnerable people were the common complains. The question of vulnerability as concerns the recipients of the palliatives for the covid-19 pandemic must be succinctly addressed.


Dr Cecy Balogun

 (Nigerian Institute of Social and Economic Research (NISER), Nigeria)

E-mail: olusanjo2017@yahoo.com.

Title of Paper: Social Policy Responses to COVID-19 In Nigeria: Gaps And Expectations .


This paper examined the social policy responses of the government to the COVID-19 outbreak in Nigeria. COVID-19 threatened the health, social, economic, and political stability of the global community, Nigeria, inclusive. Apart from the health challenges associated with the disease outbreak, the movement restrictions and lockdown measures that were imposed at the national, and state levels affected the job security and livelihood of millions of families in Nigeria. The unemployment rate in Nigeria increased from 23% in 2018 to over 27% in 2020, and an estimated 10.9 million people are projected to be pushed into poverty as a result of COVID-19 and the containment measures in Nigeria. Hence, the study aims to analyze the effect of COVID-19 on job security and livelihoods, the policy responses of the government, gaps in such measures, and grey areas that the government should focus on to forestall the negative impacts of pandemics of the magnitude of COVID-19, suing secondary data sources. The study concluded that the social policy measures adopted to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on the Nigerian populace were grossly ineffective, due to the large number of people needing social security in Nigeria and the inadequacy of the measures adopted. The study recommended that social benefits that are directed at the poor, who are the most affected by the socio-economic impact of COVID-19, will require a comprehensive database of poor and vulnerable populations for adequate and effective targeting.

Keywords: Social policy responses, food aids, job security, cash transfer programmes, learn at home programme


Dr Daud Black

 (University Of Malawi, Malawi)

E-mail: daudblack3214@gmail.com.

Title of Paper: Poverty and Inequality.


Africa’s poverty challenge is well-known and widely researched. Approximately one in three Africans – 422 million people live below the global poverty line. They represent more than 70% of the world’s poorest people. More recently, evidence shows that inequality may indeed be a more significant challenge in Africa than in other regions of the developing world. High levels of poverty and inequality persist in Africa in spite of it being one of the fastest growing regions in the last decade. In particular, six of the world’s ten fastest growing economies in the last decade were in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) (IMF, 2021 projections). Specifically, the fastest growing economy in the world in this decade was Angola, followed by Nigeria, Ethiopia, Chad, Mozambique, Rwanda and Equatorial Guinea.

This paper takes a deeper look at the levels of poverty and inequality in Africa with a special case of Malawi using data from the IHS2, IHS3, and ISH4 to measure inequality. We use the Multidimensional Poverty Index(MPI) which leverages a variety of dimensions and  applies it to the number of people and the overall intensity across the poor to create a model that captures the extent of poverty in the region and  the Gini Index, which uses a straightforward 0-1 scale to illustrate deviance from perfect equality of income

Key words: Poverty, Inequality, Malawi


Dr Miracle-Eunice Bolorunduro

 (Adekunle Ajasin University Akungba-Akoko, Nigeria )

E-mail: miracleeunicebolorunduro@gmail.com.

Title of Paper: An Appraisal of the COVID-19 Rapid Response Registration Cash Transfer Policy in Nigeria.


The COVID-19 pandemic has had untold impacts on human lives and has altered life as we knew it. In trying to mitigate the attending challenges of the pandemic, various social policies were implemented in Nigeria as well as in other parts of the world. This paper focuses on an assessment of the Rapid Response Registration Cash Transfer Project in Nigeria. This policy legislated by the Federal Government is aimed to lift the urban poor out of poverty, especially those whose livelihood was affected by the pandemic, and to ameliorate the harsh economic impacts of the pandemic. Since its implementation, there has been public outcry on the transparency and the accountability of the process on the part of government officials, and skepticisms over whether the cash transfer is actually been disbursed to the right persons, in order to truly achieve what it was meant to achieve amidst the pandemic. This paper therefore, seeks to do an assessment of the policy. What were the criteria for selecting the urban poor and vulnerable? Why were rural settlers not covered by this policy? What are the successes recorded so far? What have been the challenges of this initiative? These are the questions the paper intends to answer. It relies on secondary method, using document analysis. Data will be sourced from Newspaper reports, journals, government’s official statements and documents, and stakeholder interviews. Findings will help inform policy makers on better ways to enhance such social policies, and provide cushion to citizens amidst the pandemic.
Keywords: Appraisal, COVID-19, policy, conditional cash transfer, Nigeria


Marzena Breza

 (SOCIEUX+ EU Expertise on Social Protection, Labour and Employment, Belgium)

E-mail: Marzena.Breza@socieux.eu.

Title of Paper:  Challenges for social protection policy developments and reforms – experience of EU technical cooperation in African countries.


Socio-economic situation in time of Covid-19 caused new challenges for policy makers across the world. The social protection systems require new developments in countries of different level of development status.

Covid19 as an external factor is influencing differently countries partly due to the existing social protection systems – its generosity, flexibility and adaptability. Social protection systems based on extended experiences as well the immature in developing countries are facing challenges of higher unemployment, increase of informal work, rising demand of benefits for vulnerable groups, etc.

Social challenges arise at national, regional and local levels of social protection implementation. All actors involve in social protection benefits and services delivery are confronted with new demands and actions. As to ensure high quality and access to social protection services accurate government interventions are key to reach the most vulnerable.

Challenges of social protection system could be properly identified and provide to adequate government policy actions based on the international experience sharing. The EU countries with different level socio-economic development are regularly sharing their experience and knowledge in practical terms via peer-to-peer technical actions. Gaining an international perspective for social policy development is in high demand in African countries which make mutual cooperation in social protection valuable for all partners involved.


Dominic Brown

 (Alternative Information & Development Centre, South Africa)

E-mail: dominic@amandla.org.za.

Title of Paper: Towards a people’s budget for South Africa: remarks from a transformative social policy perspective.


In 2020, South Africa’ National Treasury began a three-year programme to reduce government non-interest spending. As Michael Sachs, the former head of National Treasury’s budget office notes, “this would be the largest contraction in government spending since the transition to democracy … and coming after a decade of ‘austerity without consolidation’”.

Faced with a self-imposed structural adjustment programme (austerity), trade unions, social movements and community-based organisations have criticised budget cuts, the privatisation of essential services and the prioritisation of big business and wealthy individuals over the needs of the majority of the people and the planet. Implicit in this critique is a growing recognition that the national budget is not only a question of public finance, but is fundamentally a tool of transformative social policy.

Given this, we ask, what could a budget that prioritises the needs of the majority of the people and the planet, look like? To answer this question, we examine government’s programme for expenditure and revenue collection. Adopting the perspective of transformative social policy, we consider where it might come up short and how this might be addressed.

A key element of our argument is that it is not only the content of the budget that is important, but also the process by which it is developed. A budget that is developed through mass public deliberation, we contend, is not only more likely to reflect the values and the needs of the impoverished black majority, but is also an important component of creating a social compact and protecting the increasingly fragile legitimacy of the state.

Co-Author(s): Dr, Nimi Hoffmann

Professor Dennis C. Canterbury

 (Eastern Connecticut State University, United States of America)

E-mail: canterburyd@easternct.edu.

Title of Paper: Fresh Vistas for African Development in a New Multipolar World Order.


The transition from the failed US-led neoliberal global order to an emerging new multipolar world order founded on competition and cooperation between the US, the European Union, and the BRICS countries in particular Russia and China has created fresh vistas for economic development and social protection policies in African states. The African states no longer have to subject themselves to the dictates of the IMF/World Bank Group to build back better in the light of the destruction wrought by structural adjustment. These states now have options presented by the new multipolarity to build forward better by shaping economic development and social protection policies in their self-interest. The problem is whether the African states have the wherewithal to discontinue their IMF/World Bank policies and negotiate economic measures to reflect the new multipolarity. Also, would multipolar competition and rivalry thwart the African states’ pursuit of economic development.  


Dr Patience Chadambuka


E-mail: pchadambuka@gmail.com.

Title of Paper: Zimbabwe’s ex-farm labourers of foreign origin and perpetual marginalization. A need for a land policy shift..


Zimbabwe’s Fast Track Land Reform Programme (FTLRP) continues to attract scholarship on land and agrarian reform. The farm occupations by black Zimbabweans and subsequent displacements of white farmers and their labourers, which conditioned the emergence of fast track, impacted significantly the former farm workers, as they had to reinvent their lives thereafter. Historically, colonial Zimbabwe drew upon labour mainly from neighbouring Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique.   Issues focusing on livelihoods and belonging became pertinent to ex-farm workers, particularly those of foreign of foreign origin. Zimbabwean-by-origin ex-farm workers could relocate to their (highly ethnicised) communal areas, but this was not an easily-available option for those of foreign origin. This article focuses on farm workers of foreign origin who either remained on former white-owned commercial farms or moved to communal areas after the FTLRP. It explores processes and practices of contested belonging between the ex-farm labourers and the autochthonous occupiers and, later, the new A1 fast track farmers. The article is based on ethnographic fieldwork conducted between September 2019 and March 2020 on an A1 farms and communal areas in Shamva District, Mashonaland Central Province. We focus on how autochthonous claims continue to shape land and ethnic belonging in Zimbabwe with, in this study, those considering themselves as autochthones (A1 farmers and communal residents) trying to impose hegemonic control over the ex-farm workers (labelled as outsiders or allochthones). We further argue for a need to revisit the land policy in a manner that allows for the unconditional inclusion and belonging of farm labourers, with a specific focus to those of foreign origin.

Co-Author(s): Mr Rodney Munemo, Professor Kirk Helliker

Dr Musavengana Chibwana

 (University of Free State, Centre for Gender and Africa Studies, South Africa)

E-mail: musa.chibwana@gmail.com.

Title of Paper: Social protection for children in Africa: the case of South Africa and Mauritius.


This article reflects on the conceptualization of social protection within the African Children’s Charter and the extent to which its normative guidance influenced Mauritius and South Africa’s framing of social protection. Mauritius and South Africa are two of the top three countries identified by World Bank as the top spenders on social assistance after Chile. The article conceptualizes social protection not as a palliative endeavour, but as a social justice issue which is supposed to be justiciable within a jurisdiction. The article gleans some lessons from these two countries that are worth replicating. In the same breadth, since both countries use cash transfers as the backbone of their social protection interventions, the article raises a trepidation that cash transfers intervene at the level of individuals and households, rather than addressing the structural set up of society that make the children vulnerable in the first place.  The article argues that the cash transfer interventions in both countries provide for narrow conceptualizations of poverty as income or food deficits whilst paying a blind eye to the multidimensionality of poverty.  Further, the conceptualisation is also problematic in that it brands the poor as a homogeneous group, needing a one size fitting all intervention which in this case is cash transfer. The article engages with some transformative interventions in both countries, with the jurisprudence of the Grootboom case being instructive on how social protection could be framed.


Dr Clement Chipenda

 (SARChI Chair in Social Policy, University of South Africa, South Africa)

E-mail: clement.chipenda@gmail.com.

Title of Paper: ‘Social Policy by Other Means’: Critical insights on land reform as an alternative social policy instrument during the Covid-19 pandemic.


Since its emergence, Covid-19 has had unprecedented socio-economic implications. The structural flaws and weaknesses of global capitalism have been exposed, while hitherto hidden inequalities in social relations of production and reproduction have become visible. In a background where for the past decade, the social policy discourse in African countries has come under criticism for being ‘residual and reductionist’ and narrowing down the vision of social policy, the pandemic has reignited debate on the efficacy of the current social policy paradigm in a development context. This paper is premised on the idea that in the global south, the pandemic has brought to the fore the need to critically engage on the idea that land reform, an overlooked instrument of social policy has the potential to provide for the welfare and wellbeing of citizens. In emerging literature on Covid-19, blind spots exist on the impact which the pandemic is having on rural farming households and their responses to it. Using field based empirical evidence from rural Zimbabwe, the paper uses the transformative social policy theoretical framework as a conceptual and hereustic tool to interrogate the impact which the pandemic is having on production, social reproduction and accumulation by resettled households. It further engages on the extent to which households have managed to cope with risks, vulnerabilities and inequalities exacerbated by the pandemic. Insight from rural Zimbabwe is critical for the debate that land reform provides a ‘functional equivalent’ of social policy or ‘social policy by other means’ in a pandemic context.


Dr Rejoice Chipuriro

 (University of Johannesburg, South Africa)

E-mail: rchipuriro@gmail.com.

Title of Paper: Aging and Women Empowerment Agenda: Perspectives from Zimbabwe..


Women empowerment has become a buzzword fueled by Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) in their development projects. On the contrary feminist organisations criticise such project goals for depoliticizing gender oppression through their project-oriented pacifist approaches to development. This paper critiques the empowerment discourse by asking pertinent questions on its relevance and applicability to an African development agenda. It explores the challenges posed by prevailing polarised approaches between the State, NGOs and feminist organisations when it comes to gendered policy implementation and community development interventions. The paper is informed by a case study on elderly women farmers livelihood experiences in Zimbabwe’s Land Reform Program. In-depth interviews were conducted, and data was drawn from 23 women farmers aged above 55 years who participated in the Land Reform Programs in Mashonaland Central Province, Zimbabwe. A feminist theoretical framework applied through an intersectional lens informed data analysis. The main findings are that there is a wide gap between gender policies and implementation in development programs. This is constituted by cultural biases permeating both local communities and governance structures. Lack of understanding on the gender and empowerment agenda also limits scope of mobilisation, advocacy and collaboration which perpetuates non-compliance to gendered policies. An African feminist calls for harnessing women farmers agency in articulating their needs to policy makers and claiming their space as citizens to ensure they reap the gains of progressive policies for real transformation agenda.


Dr Julia Ngozi Chukwuma

 (SOAS, University of London, United Kingdom)

E-mail: 656928@soas.ac.uk.

Title of Paper: Implementing health policy in Nigeria: The Basic Health Care Provision Fund as a catalyst for attaining Universal Health Coverage in Nigeria?.


When the National Health Act (NHAct) was adopted in 2014 in Nigeria, its article 11 received wide-spread attention. This was because it mandated the establishment of a novel health financing mechanism: the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF). The BHCPF was created to provide sustainable resources to fund the provision of a minimum package of healthcare services in view of fast-tracking Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in Nigeria. It is supposed to be predominantly funded through an annual grant of the Federal Government. This paper focuses on how the BHCPF is expected to contribute to UHC in Nigeria. It sheds light on the controversies surrounding the elaboration of the BHCPF’s operational guidelines and examines how these contestations affect its on-going operationalisation. Three major areas of contestation stand out, with significant implications for Nigeria’s healthcare system. First, the viewpoints of the various agents operating within Nigeria’s healthcare system differ regarding how the BHCPF’s resources should be secured, used and disbursed. Second, the division of power and responsibility between Federal and State organs as well as between the Ministry of Health and its agencies remains controversial. Third, there is contestation around how to enrol and target beneficiaries and what the service package should entail. The paper is based on the careful examination of three different versions of the operational guidelines (2016, 2018, and 2020). This is combined with data collected during fieldwork, which allows to investigate how the position of different agents affected modifications made to the different iterations of the guidelines.


Dr Abdoul Karim Diamoutene

 (University of Social Science and Managment of Bamako, Mali)

E-mail: a2005diamou@yahoo.fr.

Title of Paper: Agriculture, Inequality and Poverty in Mali.


This study analyzed the impact of agriculture on poverty and inequality in Mali using data from the Integrated Agricultural Survey of 2014. It used the generalized entropy and FGT indices to decompose inequality and poverty. In addition, she used the methodology developed by Araar and Duclos (2010) for the analysis of the effects on inequality and poverty. The results reveal a significant effect of individual inequalities between farmers on inequality and poverty. They show greater poverty among farmers due to the low average income in the agricultural sector. They suggest the reduction of individual inequalities and the enhancement of agricultural production and income.


Dr Bernard Dubbeld

 (Stellenbosch University, South Africa)

E-mail: bernarddubbeld@gmail.com.

Title of Paper: Granting the Future: the temporality of cash transfers in the countryside.


In the past five years, anthropologists focusing the global South have come to consider public cash transfer programs as an alternative to both work-centered policies and national development projects. These studies suggest that grants today go beyond the domain of traditional social policies and government bureaucracy and point to a new future in view of the scarcity of work. This future has become even closer with the  COVID-19 pandemic, and with governments, non-governmental entities and the political left reaffirming the importance of a basic universal income. Considering these discussions, my article focuses on an income transfer program in South Africa after the Apartheid period, placing an ethnographic account in relation to the design of a ‘progressive’ policy of social grants. I present a longer history of salaried work in relation to rural African households and show how the emancipatory promises of cash transfer projects were read as a risk to local traditions and morals. In addition to this reduction in political hopes invested in transfers, I examine the temporal aspect of cash transfers, as well as the possible futures they evoke. By considering the futures that grants enable, I conclude by suggesting that it is premature to affirm that they have overcome wage work and its attendant sociality.


Oko Enworo

 (Department of Sociology, University of Pretoria, South Africa, South Africa)

E-mail: ancientoko@gmail.com.

Title of Paper: The Role of Indigenous Social Protection Systems in the Management of Covariate Shocks: Insights from Southeast Nigeria.


Despite strong economic growth and recent (2017) development of a National Social Protection Policy, Nigeria continues to grapple with high rates of poverty, inequality and low social protection coverage. Current estimates are that only 4.4 percent of the country’s population is covered by at least one social protection benefit. This is far less than the African average of 17.8 percent. As a result, indigenous social protection systems continue to be the main source of risk management and social security for many Nigerians, as is the case for many Africans. Yet, these systems tend to be overlooked by the government, presumably on the grounds often presented in the literature that they are, among others, fragile, rapidly declining  and only effective in managing idiosyncratic shocks. Using  qualitative evidence from a larger study aimed at exploring the dynamics of  indigenous social protection systems in Southeast Nigeria, and the theoretical lens of Social Risk Management this paper will illustrate how these systems often help communities to mitigate the effect of flooding, a covariate shock that frequently affects the region. In addition to illuminating the dynamic processes of these systems and their potential to address pressures from more virulent covariate shocks, the paper will also highlight plausible pathways for linking them with formal social protection systems for the realization of broader social inclusion and human development.


Dr Sophie Ekume Etomes

 (University of Buea, Cameroon)

E-mail: sophie.ekume@ubuea.cm.

Title of Paper: Social Policy and Provision of Education: Implication on Quality of Higher Education in Cameroon .


Education is the strength of the economy of every country; but the quality of education is even more relevant to bridge the inequality gap in the society and overall productivity of the economy. Reason why most countries deploy a huge amount of their national resources in the production of education good. However, some social policies focus more on the demand for education rather than the quality of education. Making higher education affordable to the least privileged is commendable for economic growth and sustainable development, but issues of quality should also be given a serious attention. It should be noted that expenditure on higher education is an investment in human capital which is expected to yield commensurate benefits to the individual and to the society. While the price of education affects its demand, it also determines the quality of education good produced. It is in this context that this study examines how social policy adopted by the government of Cameroon in providing higher education affects its quality.  We argue that the quality of education determines graduates’ employability which has positive spill overs to income distribution, health, social status, economic stabilization and growth. This is also in line with the 2063 Agenda of the Africa We Want. The specific objectives examine how policies on financing higher education, staff recruitment, programmes offered and admission policy affects the quality of higher education. The study will use essentially empirical works and other relevant secondary sources based on the objectives under study.

Co-Author(s): Professor Fonkeng Epah Goerge, Dr Roland Ndille

Dr Marie Fall

 (Université du Québec à Chicoutimi, Canada)

E-mail: marie.fall@uqac.ca.

Title of Paper: Analyse critique des idéologies au cœur des politiques sociales liées à l’éducation et à l’emploi au Mali, en Mauritanie et au Sénégal.


Les premières politiques sociales institutionnalisées en Mauritanie, au Mali et au Sénégal ont été le fait des gouvernements coloniaux sous la responsabilité de la France, puissance colonisatrice de l’Afrique-Occidentale Française (AOF) entre 1895 et 1958. Durant cette période, les politiques sociales relatives à l’éducation et à l’emploi se sont révélées embryonnaires, instrumentales et exclusives. Les colonies françaises de l’Afrique de l’Ouest, à l’instar du Soudan français (actuel Mali), de la Mauritanie et du Sénégal ont accédé à l’indépendance entre 1958 et 1960. Une nouvelle génération de politiques sociales liées à l’éducation et à l’emploi apparaît au lendemain des indépendances des trois pays qui tentent, tant bien que mal, de les arrimer à des projets de développement socioéconomique. Les générations de politiques sociales appliquées dans les trois pays depuis leur indépendance ont successivement reposé sur les idéologies du développement, du libéralisme et du néolibéralisme.

Cette présente contribution propose une critique des idéologies au cœur des politiques sociales liées à l’éducation et à l’emploi au Mali, en Mauritanie et au Sénégal. Nous allons présenter dans une perspective comparative et synthétique, les politiques sociales liées à l’éducation au Mali, en Mauritanie et au Sénégal dans quatre grandes périodes : la période coloniale (1895 -1958), la période postindépendance (1958 -1970), la période des PAS (1980-1990), la période post-PAS (1990- 2018) et la période de la Covid-19. Ensuite nous analyserons les impacts des idéologies à l’origine des politiques sociales dans les domaines de l’emploi et de l’éducation. Enfin, nous élaborerons des perspectives post Covid-19 pour des politiques sociales transformatives et genrée dans les trois pays.

Co-Author(s): Ndèye Faty Sarr, Ph.D

Temi Esteri Fet’era

 (United Nations, Nigeria)

E-mail: temi.fetera@gmail.com.

Title of Paper: COVID-19 and the Exposure of Gaps in Social Protection Coverage of the Informal Economy: A Case of Cultural and Creative Sector Workers in Nigeria..


In Nigeria, the COVID-19 pandemic unveiled a “new poor” population identified as largely urban and dependent on service-sector, non-farm business income and expanded the country’s poverty profile beyond the typically rural and agriculture dependent households. Nigeria runs a flagship National Social Safety Nets Programme (NASSP) within its nascent social protection framework. The NASSP’s two key components include the development of a National Social Register (NSR) for those identified as poor, and the implementation of a conditional cash transfer programme to households mined from the register. As an initial response to the COVID-19 crisis, beneficiary identification and registration for the NSR was accelerated. Consequently, between March and December 2020, the National Social Register expanded from an estimated 11 million to over 24 million (NASSCO, 2020) individuals registered. Implementation of the conditional cash payments also continued, but at a pre-COVID-19 pace, without significant changes to the number of beneficiaries under NASSP. In months following, and towards a scale-up of the NASSP programme, a parallel rapid response register (RRR) was launched to effectively capture the changing profile of those experiencing loss of income and increased vulnerability to poverty, in the urban areas. Despite the remarkable increase in the NSR and the pilot of the RRR, those in the cultural and creative sectors (CCS) in urban areas – many and mostly informal workers –  continued to be worse hit by the effects of the pandemic with loss of income compounded by social distancing, ban on mass gathering, and global travel restrictions, in an audience-centered industry. The cultural and creative sector is the second largest employer of labour in Nigeria after agriculture; employing ~4.2 million Nigerians (Balogun, 2021) and contributing between 2.5 and three per cent to the nation’s GDP (ILO, 2016). As the pandemic brings to light gaps in social protection systems, this paper provides a case study of cultural and creative workers in Nigeria and stresses the challenges that hinder their inclusion in the national social protection framework and explores some possible policy response strategies to address the extension of social protection to CCS workers.


Eric Patrick Feubi Pamen

 (The University of Douala, Cameroon)

E-mail: feubi.pameneric@yahoo.fr.

Title of Paper: An Application of the Alkire-Foster’s Multidimensional Poverty Index to Data from Madagascar: Taking Into Account the Dimensions of Employment and Gender Inequality.


In this study, we build what we call the Malagasy Multidimensional Poverty Index (MALAMPI), which is an augmented-MPI. Here, in addition to the standard MPI dimensions (health, education and living standards), we add an additional and highly important dimension, namely employment, which is generally the sole means of production owned by poor or deprived people. Another shortcoming of the MPI approach is that it does not enable gender inequalities analysis. This is surprising since two out of the three dimensions of the classical MPI are individual attributes. In this study, we also provide a new methodology aiming at computing gender sensitive MPI-type indicators. We use data from the 2012-2013 Malagasy MDGs national survey. Results show that adding the employment dimension to the MPI framework consistently increases Multidimensional poverty in Madagascar, the poverty headcount moving from 56% to 72%. Using our newly developed gender-sensitive method, we bring to light a significant gender gap (about 7% of increase at the expense of women), while the classical comparison of poverty level between female- headed households and male-headed households would have led to the conclusion that women are not disadvantaged. We also bring to light the fact that the gender gap does not necessary decrease when the household seems advantaged in terms of monetary living standards quintiles or in terms of household professional status.

Co-Author(s): Mathias KUEPIE

Dr Shepherd Gudyani

 (Great Zimbabwe University (GZU), Zimbabwe)

E-mail: sgudyani@gmail.com.

Title of Paper: Co-creating Social Policy for Inclusive and Democratic Development through investing in self-determined and sustained rural communities in Africa, the case of Zimbabwe.


Many rural communities in Africa continue to flaunt in extreme poverty and inequality. In part, this stems from social policies which are detached from the developmental state and democracy. Many African governments continue to apply neo-liberal relief mechanisms (in relieving communities from crisis) as the broader roadmap on social policy, and separately relegate democracy and development to rhetoric and theory. Politically, realism has for decades extended the idea of statism, but does little in creating inclusive and democratic development. Through the neo-liberal relief mechanisms, rural communities have remained engulfed in extreme poverty, without voice, with their development determined by external voices. This paper envisions inclusive and democratic development from an empowered rural community perspective, which is achieved through merging social policy and democracy. This subscribes to Mkandawire’s vision of a coherent, normative, and holistic approach to social policy, in which self-determination and self-sustenance are key attributes of rural societies. This paper argues that investing in self-determination and sustenance leads to co-creation of an integrated social policy for inclusive and democratic development. Using a case study of Zimbabwe, key informant interviews, focus group discussions and secondary data to collect data, the researcher aims at drawing lessons from social policies and democracy in the face of social insecurities and other pandemics in Africa, to exhibit the efficacy of self-determination and self-sustenance on vouching for inclusive social policy and democratic development.

Co-Author(s): Dr. L.T. Gwaka and Dr. T. Muzerengi

Professor Vusi Gumede

 (University of Mpumalanga, South Africa)

E-mail: Vusi.Gumede@ump.ac.za.

Title of Paper: Thandika Mkandawire and the South African developmental state.


In the mid-2000s it was decided that South Africa should be a developmental state and various processes aimed at that were set in motion. Mkandawire reflected over many decades on a possible South African developmental state largely informed by his earlier works on South Africa, including a seminal paper he published on Southern African scenarios in 1977. He continued until he passed on proving lessons for South Africa. The paper revisits his many relevant works and explains why South Africa has drifted away from becoming a democratic developmental state. The paper is an attempt to answer why the various processes and initiatives have not ensured that South Africa becomes a developmental state that was aspired for since the 1990s. The coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic has worsened prospects of South Africa ever becoming a developmental state although state capacity has substantially improved since 1994. A comprehensive social policy has been lacking. Economic policy has not been clear. The National Development Plan has not been accompanied by a much-needed socio-economic development agenda for the country. The National Planning Commission has not made the expected contribution in making South Africa a developmental state. The national question has not been addressed, or is it the character of South African democracy that limits possibilities? Based on Mkandawire’s insights and perspectives, the paper proposes what can be done differently to assist that South Africa becomes an effective developmental state including some views on what could have been a better response to the Covid-19 pandemic.


Peter Gutwa Oino

 (Kisii University, Kenya)

E-mail: oinogutwae@gmail.com.

Title of Paper: Opportunities and Challenges in Promoting Gendered Policies and Practices on Child Protection in East Africa.


Socially, economically and politically, children are constructed as a vulnerable group, not least because society is positioned as having to take care of them and their interests, but also due to lack of voice in protection interventions. Despite a shared normative child protection framework across East African countries, interventions on child protection vary across different stakeholder groups. Evidence on the impacts of child protection policies on gender equity and wellbeing outcomes, especially during and post-pandemic situations is limited and skewed towards general studies of education enrolment, attendance and dropout. The evidence on how gender equity is implemented within the designed child protection frameworks is extremely limited, yet vulnerabilities on children’s wellbeing are notable. Based on the Thermodynamic Ecological Systems theory and drawing on national and regional level reports of legal, organizational frameworks and socio‐cultural backgrounds of East African child protection systems, the paper maps out the current child protection policy landscape and its elements, opportunities and challenges, while identifying the existing gender gaps. Using a critical content design, we present a critical view and perspective on the implicit and explicit gendered discursive constructions and normative representations of child protection systems. The paper confirms that despite the existence of various child protection frameworks across East Africa, designed child protection interventions are not gender sensitive, thereby widening the vulnerability gap between boys and girls. The study concludes that most interventions are gender blind, and recommends that key child protection policies should aim at generating interventions that are diverse and inclusive.

Co-Author(s): Dr. George Ezekiel Aberi

Tapiwanashe Hadzizi

 (University of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe)

E-mail: hadzmantapiwanashe@gmail.com.

Title of Paper: Housing inequalities and the struggle to become house owners in urban set ups: Can housing co-operatives makes the dream come true? A case of Harare, Zimbabwe..


Access to proper housing is one of the fundamental human right for mankind, which is enshrined in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. However, in third world countries where in recent times there have been massive unplanned rural-urban migration, characterised by putting pressure on urban services and infrastructure. United Nations-Habitat noted that urban population in Sub-Saharan Africa is increasing at unprecedented levels, hence there’s an urgent need for housing for these people. Town planners, local government officials and housing cooperatives faces a huge task of providing housing to an urban population grappling with decreasing incomes and high cost of living in Africa since there’s urbanisation without economic growth. It is in this regard, that the paper underscores the role played by housing co-operatives in the provisions of housing in urban areas in Harare, Zimbabwe.


Isaac Kabelenga

 (University of Zambia (UNZA) and Zambian Center for Poverty Reduction and Research Limited (ZCPRR), Zambia)

E-mail: isaackabelenga@gmail.com.

Title of Paper: Emergency Social Protection interventions actioned by the Government of Zambia (GRZ) in response to Covid-19 pandemic.


Background and aim: Zambia is one of the countries in Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) which is hard hit by Covid-19 pandemic. Zambia recorded first confirmed two cases of COVID-19 on 18th March 2020. At the time of writing this abstract on 23rd August 2021 there were over 204,651 cases, with   198,781 recoveries and 3,578 deaths. This means that cases of Covid-19 in Zambia were on the increase since March, 2020. The aim of this paper was to explore the forms of emergency social protection interventions actioned by the Government of Zambia (GRZ) in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Methodology: This study involved review of available literature and conducted four (4) on-line qualitative interviews with Zambia’s Ministry of Community Development and Social Services (MCDSS) about the forms of emergency social protection interventions actioned by the GRZ in response to Covid-19 pandemic.

Findings: This study has established three broad forms of social protection interventions namely: (1) vertical expansion, (3) horizontal expansion, and (3) alignment.
Conclusions: Based on the current study, it is concluded that the scope of coverage of social protection interventions in Zambia has widened during Covid-19 era. This is because additional categories of poor and vulnerable people were added to social protection interventions. This means that Covid-19 pandemic has reviewed that it is possible for the GRZ to expand the fiscal space for social protection in Zambia. It is also evident that it is political will that matters in extension of social protection to the needy people.


Dr Samar Khamlichi

 (Institut des Etudes Africaines, Mohamed 5 University, Morocco)

E-mail: khamlichisamar9@gmail.com.

Title of Paper: The Moroccan model of social policy responses to the Covid-19 Pandemic.


The Coronavirus (Covid-19) is the most severe pandemic in the contemporary history of international life. This pandemic caused the death of more than three million people around the world until April 2021. The virus has spread quite rapidly leaving states facing new health and socio-economic challenges. Even developed states have had difficulty keeping control of the situation. Since the spread of the Coronavirus in the world, the affected countries have demonstrated their institutional and management fragility at the level of both rich and poor countries. Weak health care systems, insufficient health personnel and equipment, and difficulties in ensuring food self-sufficiency in various countries. These are loopholes that already exist in governance in many rich and poor states. In Africa, some countries have been able to contain the damage, while others have not; some have already started vaccination campaigns and others have not. To deal with this pandemic, Morocco has adopted measures aimed at limiting both the economic and social impact of the health crisis.

The actions undertaken by Morocco have highlighted the main recommendations of the agencies of the United Nations system to support an integrated and effective response to the economic and social repercussions of the crisis.

Greater attention to monitoring multidimensional poverty, innovation in the collection and analysis of contextualized data, investment in the continuity of public education and health services during and after the crisis, as well as ” strengthening regionalization and enhancing the role of civil society.


Dr Lindi-K Khumalo

 (Studies in Poverty and Inequality Institute , South Africa)

E-mail: lindikmatse@gmail.com.

Title of Paper: Critical Reflections on South Africa’s Covid-19 Social Relief of Distress Grant (SDR): A case for the development of a cost of living index.


This paper adds to the growing body of research around social policy responses to the Covid-19 pandemic. The paper aims to critically reflect on South Africa’s Social Relief of Distress Grant (SDoR) as a social assistance measure which is being rolled out by government. The analysis centres its arguments around making a case for social policies such as the SDoR to be linked to an objective measure of need. The paper makes a case for social assistance such as SDoR to be measured against the Decent Standard of Living (DSL) with the lens of improving the standard of living as opposed to a mere social policy response. While, rollout of SDoR is appreciated, it is 40% below the poverty line. Therefore, it makes a tiny dent in fighting inequality as many people are still experiencing hunger and starvation. Yet if the value of the SDoR should be significantly higher and linked to the DSL, it might make a huge difference in the quality of life. The paper is timely because it allows for a critical reflection around why social policy responses such as the SDoR have not been linked to any measure of the cost of living which actually aims to improve standard of living in South Africa

Co-Author(s): Dr Nqobile Zulu

Dr Michael Kpessa-Whyte

 (Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana, Legon, Ghana)

E-mail: michael.kpessa@gmail.com.

Title of Paper: Democracy and Social Policy in Ghana: An Analysis of Reforms in Health, Pension and Education Policies.


Most countries in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) spent a little over a decade implementing structural economic reforms inspired by neoliberal ideas prior to wave of democratization that started in the 1990s. Neoliberalism is based on a strong believe in  pursuit of socio-economic wellbeing through economic freedoms and individual initiative in an environment that promotes property rights, limited governments, privatization, deregulation, individual responsibility. The shift in public policy orientation in SSA was puzzling because social policies were seen and used in early postcolonial period deployed in the construction of notions of citizenship and national identity in the attempts to reconfigure the loyalties and identities of the population in the wake of postcolonial realities.   Even more surprising was the fact that neoliberalism which was premised on freedoms and liberties was implemented across SSA mostly by military or authoritarian civilian regimes that constrained democratic expressions in the form of resistance and opposition. Thus, societies in the sub-region were  effectively subordinated to market principles, and social policies were denigrated and consigned to the margins of development discourses before the wave of democratization. But two major developments—the failure of neoliberal reforms to deliver on their promised human wellbeing, and the reestablishment of constitutional democracies— have returned social policy to the policy agenda albeit with a narrower vision. This notwithstanding, the analysis of social policy in the context of democratic politics continues to receive little attention in the scholarly literature. Drawing on recent politics of social policy reforms in Ghana, this study  is committed to analyzing the effects of democratic politics on social policy, focusing particularly on healthcare, pensions, and education reforms. It argues that although democratic politics forced social policies to the public policy agenda, the reforms adopted have largely been cosmetic and symbolic, lacking the necessary structural changes to be truly transformative.


Dr Roosa Lambin

 (UNU-Wider, UK)

E-mail: lambin.roosa@gmail.com.

Title of Paper: Exploring two decades of social policy trajectories in mainland Tanzania from the perspective of working-age women – driving for inclusive development?.


In July 2020, the United Republic of Tanzania graduated from low-income to lower middle-income status. This came after two decades of significant social policy reforms and transformations in the country’s economic structures. As Tanzania enters a new decade with the new status, it continues to grapple with challenges in ensuring that the country’s gender-based inequalities and the economic exclusion of women are accounted for and adequately addressed. The purpose of this paper is to interrogate the social policy trajectories in mainland Tanzania over the past two decades with a gender lens, to better understand the contributions of these developments to inclusive development. It takes a holistic approach and examines policy developments and implications on the wellbeing and livelihoods of working-age women in the particular areas of health policy, social protection and employment policy.

Up until today, very little of social policy scholarship has focused on addressing the gendered effects of social policy models on the African continent – with the notable exception of some previous publications on the developmental welfare state and its implications on gender inequality in South Africa (Hassim, 2006; Plagerson et al., 2019). This paper contributes towards filling this knowledge gap, and engages with interdisciplinary debates related to social and development policies and their gendered implications. The paper draws on a comprehensive desktop study of secondary materials, including academic publications, government policy documents, relevant statistics and other grey literature.

Co-Author(s): Dr. Milla Nyyssölä

Professor Maureen Mackintosh

 (The Open University, United Kingdom)

E-mail: maureen.mackintosh@open.ac.uk.

Title of Paper: Commercialisation, gender and ethics in Tanzanian health care: honouring the work of Paula Tibandebage.


The commercialisation of health care – its reduction from a public health commitment to a widely-inaccessible marketed commodity – has been a core element of the destructive attack on social solidarity in African contexts from the 1990s onwards, denounced by Thandika Mkandawire. Dr Paula Tibandebage, a Tanzanian scholar and intellectual who has died too young, was one of the early African researchers of international standing to pioneer fieldwork-based economic and social research on health care commercialisation, its structure and consequences. Her work inspired one major and influential project within Thandika Mkandawire’s UNRISD programme on Social Policy and Development: the project on Commercialisation of Health Care, on which the authors of this paper were editor and contributor. Paula Tibandebage’s central focus in her life’s research was on the search for more equitable health care and social policy, and she was deeply concerned in particular with these challenges for women and within maternal care. Dr Tibandebage led a Wellcome Trust-funded investigation into the interweaving of payments and (un)ethical maternal care. This paper draws centrally on her work, and work we each undertook with her, to explore the interconnections of charging, economic and social organisation and ethics within Tanzanian health care. Much of the data used here are unpublished, and this paper is written in honour and memory of Paula, our friend, colleague and inspiration, whose life’s work centrally addressed, in the context of Tanzania, many of the challenges Thandika Mkandawire’s research programme identified.

Co-Author(s): Dr Tausi Kida, Professor Phares Mujinja

Rasel Madaha

 (Sokoine University of Agriculture, Tanzania)

E-mail: raselmpuya@gmail.com.

Title of Paper: Coping Strategies of Feminine Peasant Networks and social protection in Tanzania: The case of Village Community Networks (VCONEs) in Tanzania.


Developed communities are the ones which can attain and sustain a better standard of living for every community member. Although the thinking is advocated by the proponents of community development, some proponents of the market economy advocate for a controversial view of community development. Overall, the market blocks those without capital to participate in the market. Proponents of community development call for a minimized role of the market. Instead, they advocate for the development of the capabilities of communities to take care of their development. Networking is one of the community-centred strategies to deal with the shortfalls of the market. It also provides social protection to vulnerable people. In this regards, the study employed an exploratory research design and, an embedded multiple-case study research method, to explore the coping strategies of Village Community Networks (VCONEs), as self-created women’s networks, in the provision of social protection and the promotion of community development in Tanzania. The findings indicate that VCONEs enable members to cope with the contingencies of patriarchy and neoliberalism through  blocking some patriarchal men from holding leadership and decision making positions; supporting politicians who share VCONE members’ visions; and diverging some funds provided by foreign donors and other investors to some other uses. Other coping strategies are presented in the article.


Dr Nkululeko Majozi

 (Studies in Poverty and Inequality Institute (SPII), South Africa)

E-mail: nkululeko@spii.org.za.

Title of Paper: The Universal Basic Income Grant (BIG) in South Africa as an Instrument for Transformative Social Policy: Lessons from Global BIG Pilot Experiments .


Although South Africa has one of the largest social security systems in Africa, providing social assistance coverage to more than 18 million citizens, the country’s social security system remains fragmented both at policymaking and implementation. South Africa’s social grant system only covers children under the age of 18, adult pensioners over the age of 60, as well disabled individuals. This leaves out a majority of the country’s most vulnerable and impoverished people located within the working age group of 18 – 59 years old who are totally excluded from receiving any form of social assistance. Means-testing criteria that determine the eligibility of grant recipients also lead to high administrative costs and exclusion. As a result, South Africa’s social security system lacks coherence, efficiency and responsiveness as there is a misalignment between benefits and administrative systems thus denying the country’s social security policy the desired transformative impact it should have on society. To remedy this state of affairs, this paper argues for the implementation of a universal basic income grant (BIG) in South Africa as the best gateway to and instrument for transformative social policy. The paper draws on evidence from six BIG pilot studies conducted in the Global North and Global South since the year 2000 in order to showcase the potential transformational impact of a BIG for South African society. As a social security measure, the BIG is a necessary means to enhancing income security for all through the redistribution of wealth generated by all in common.


Dr Tawanda Masuka

 (Bindura University of Science Education, Zimbabwe)

E-mail: tmasuka@buse.ac.zw.

Title of Paper: .


Urban child poverty is an emergent and rapidly rising form of poverty in Zimbabwe. The conventional residual social policy characterised by social safety nets is evidently inadequate to reduce the increasing urban child poverty. This mixed methods study in Bindura town revealed that the social safety nets namely the cash transfers, medical and educational assistance lack predictability, consistency, transparency, sustainability and quality thereby putting the care, protection and future of many children from extremely poor urban households at risk. The extremely poor urban households have limited assets, lack sustainable livelihoods and resort to negative poverty coping strategies. Consequently, manifestations of child poverty include child labour, child sexual abuse, poor housing, inadequate diet, low dietary diversity and limited access to education. The alternative developmental social policy which focuses on sustainable livelihoods has potential to address the challenges associated with residual social policy and significantly reduce urban child poverty.  


James Mawanda

 (Development Intelligence Consultancy Limited, Uganda)

E-mail: mawandajames@gmail.com.

Title of Paper: ‘No investment in new fossil fuel supply projects’: (Re) imagining Africa’s Poverty struggles amidst new Global Energy Policies.


Based in Paris, France, the International Energy Agency announced recently that ‘no investment in new fossil fuel supply projects.’ Whereas the announcement appears timely due to the requirements of the Paris climate agreement, on the other hand, such measures come with repercussions to the developing world. From the African perspective, the continent is endowed with fossil energy sources such as petroleum and natural gas; the development puzzle becomes real. Evidence emerges that the Industrial Revolution that propelled the developed countries to their current socio-economic and political status was energized by fossil energy. Thus, the announcement interrupts the continent’s development prospects and puts Africa at a critical juncture of losing foreign exchange, stalling the industrial revolution, and increasing socio-economic and political problems. Moreover, given the global climate change objectives, the Agenda 2030, and now the EIA’s resolution to abandon investment in fossil energy sources, Africa’s industrial scalability is in a trilemma. Besides, alternative energy sources such as solar wave energy, biofuels, geothermal power, and wind energy are expensive in infrastructural and economic terms. At this point, (re) imagining Africa’s potential to fight poverty amidst new global energy policies becomes critical. The article aims to navigate the continent’s development opportunities and threats amidst global climate change ambitions, Agenda 2030, and the emergency of the coronavirus that has eroded resources and thrown the future of the global economy in jeopardy. The writing will contribute to the ongoing debate in Africa on adaptation and survival to build back better in a sustainable and resilient manner.


Dr Sara McHattie

 (United Nations World Food Programme, South Africa)

E-mail: sara.mchattie@wfp.org.

Title of Paper: The Role of Food Security & Nutrition-Sensitive Social Protection in Bridging the Humanitarian-Development Divide in the Southern African Region.


This contribution from the global South responds to the thematic area “Critical Reflections on Social Policy Responses to the Covid-19 Pandemic”.
Background: Chronic food insecurity and malnutrition has been further exacerbated by Covid-19 in Southern Africa. This study analyzes the role that food security and nutrition play in social protection programming and in bridging the humanitarian-development divide.

Methods for analyses: The study builds on an extensive literature review and in-depth key informant interviews with government and development partner stakeholders in the region. The comparative country case study analysis of social protection responses to the pandemic further informs the findings.

Findings: Baseline levels of risk and vulnerability in the region increase with each successive shock, progressively stripping communities of their ability to protect and provide for themselves. The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrates how global shocks build and compound the structural challenges resulting from previous crises, interacting with climate risks, the legacy of chronic malnutrition and complicated by co-infections and co-morbidities; global, regional, and national inequalities are exacerbated. The role of social protection to bridge the humanitarian-development nexus and meet long-term needs by leveraging short-term humanitarian funding cannot be overstated. COVID-19 is neither the last nor the worst crisis that social protection systems must address.

Conclusion: This research identifies opportunities for addressing the drivers of vulnerability by building resilience and linking humanitarian action to the development agenda. It demonstrates that food security and nutrition, the fundamental building blocks of a sustainable prosperous society, must be at the heart of social protection system strengthening.

Co-Author(s): Dr Michael Samson

Dr Kate Meagher

 (London School of Economics, United Kingdom)

E-mail: k.meagher@lse.ac.uk.

Title of Paper: Transforming African Informal Economies: Looking Back to Move Forward in the Wake of Covid-19.


The COVID-19 Pandemic has focused attention on African informal economies — both as a symbol of the continent’s intense vulnerability to the effects of the pandemic, and as a puzzle in the face of the limited and uneven spread of Coronavirus.  Yet the prevailing social policy lessons drawn from the effect of the pandemic have yet again informed a one-size-fits-all policy solution of universal basic income for informal workers. This paper draws on the work of Thandika Mkandawire to trace the history and variation among informal economies in various parts of Africa, with a view to examining their varied needs in terms of industrial and social policy.  The paper will also show how variations in the composition and capacities of African informal economies have combined with ill-informed approaches to COVID relief measures to shape the uneven spread of the virus.  The paper will challenge the notion that narrow social protection measures hold the key to the transformation of African informal economies, and will examine the need for a wider, more productivist approach to social policy if African informal economies are to be transformed from part of the development problem into part of the solution.


Bongekile Mthembu

 (University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa)

E-mail: 217022019@stu.ukzn.ac.za.

Title of Paper: Social Policy for integrated African development.


Many African thinkers have suggested that African development is elusive. However, Ake defines development as ‘the process by which people create and recreate themselves and their life circumstances to realise higher levels of civilisation in accordance with their own choices and values – development is something that people must do for themselves’( Ake, 1996). Social policy focuses on how societies around function to ensure human needs such as health, social wellbeing, and economic growth. It addresses how societies respond to social, demographic, and economic change and poverty, migration, and globalization challenges. Social policy advocates for good governance, which is a result of public participation of both women and men in the process of decision-making with regards to matters that affect their livelihoods. Participation could be either direct or through representation. It is essential to point out that representative democracy does not necessarily mean that the concerns of the most vulnerable in society would be considered in decision-making. Hence, deliberative public participation is most effective and efficient in developing societies as it promotes inclusivity of citizens of the societies in decision-making processes. This paper aims to emphasise the need to integrate the social policies in African countries for development. The paper will also explore different strategies that can be implemented for development. Lastly, to promote public participation for inclusivity and development.


Dr Marion Mugisha

 (Kyambogo University, Uganda)

E-mail: mugishamutabazi@kyu.ac.ug.

Title of Paper: Agency and Compliance with Anti-Covid-19 Public Health Policies in Slums of the Global South.


This paper attempts to explicate why it is difficult to practice and enforce public health measures for containing Covid-19 in slums of the Global South. We critique anti-Covid-19 public health measures on grounds that they are blind to the geographies and conditions of slums, and totalizing. We also argue that prioritizing social problems-based explanations of non-compliance by slum dwellers is inadequate and static, hence, lacks explanatory power. We locate the difficulties of compliance in agency and posit that it is in attempting to overcome slum problems that non- compliance manifests. In making this argument, we build on conceptual explorations of the Southern City to propose the notion of “Living in Each Other” as a viable conceptual prism. We conclude that urgings by governments for slum dwellers to “stay home,” “self-isolate,” and “socially distance,” so as to “stay safe,” are ridiculous. Yet, we also caution against overdramatizing the agency of slum residents, as this might undermine the importance of crafting anti-pandemic policies responsive to people’s living conditions and needs. We highlight the need for governments to pay attention to context and renewal of social contracts with slum residents by addressing questions of social justice and structural inequality in the post-covid-19 “new normal.”

Co-Author(s): Firminus Mugumya & Japheth Kwiringira

Dr Hellen Mukiri-Smith

 (Tilburg University, Netherlands)

E-mail: H.W.Smith@tilburguniversity.edu.

Title of Paper: Exploring the role of fintech: The solution to poverty and inequality or instruments of exploitation?


Financial services are now more than ever data driven.   States, development and international financial agencies increasingly see technology and data as key to financial inclusion, inclusion heralded as the answer to economic growth and poverty eradication, an enabler of the Sustainable Development Goals.  Drawing on extensive interviews and focus group discussions on digital financial services technologies (fintech) in Kenya, this article explores whether digital loans offered by fintech companies have a positive impact on addressing poverty and inequality.  This paper makes three main arguments.  First, that the increased use of digital loans in Kenya highlights the lack of adequate social policies.  Second, that while digital loans may help cushion borrowers against unexpected shocks, they have limited effect on reversing poverty and inequality.  Third, some of the data practices used by fintech companies, supported by existing polices and regulations, national and international, in the name of financial inclusion, are amplifying and expanding old forms of exploitation and creating new ones with devastating social consequences for people using digital loan platforms.


Dr Venosa Mushi


E-mail: vamushi@mzumbe.ac.tz.

Title of Paper: Social Protection Systems and Poverty Reduction in Tanzania.


This paper is an outcome of a review of various documents to examine the role of social protection (SP) in household poverty reduction in Tanzania. SP benefits people living in poverty and promote the well-being of societies at large. It has shielded individuals and families in times of crisis and has proven necessary to break the intergenerational cycle of poverty. SP can be achieved through three, closely interlinked means namely: social insurance, social assistance or social safety nets (SSNs) and social inclusion. SSNs particularly, which involves cash transfers (CTs), among others, is considered a popular policy instrument to address the widespread chronic poverty in Africa, Tanzania inclusive. In recognizing the vital role of SP systems, the government of Tanzania approved the implementation of Productive Social Safety Net (PSSN) programme in 2013. Under the PSSN, the government established a cash transfer programme with the aim of enabling poor households to increase incomes and use available opportunities, while improving access to education and health services. The paper puts it clear that poverty is a multidimensional phenomenon that has been defined and measured differently by various scholars. It also describes the main methods employed in measuring poverty and the indicators used. The paper further shows poverty trends and the evolution of SP evolved. Elaborations on the role of SP to poverty reduction are also given, with emphasis on access to education and health services. It is concluded that SP plays a vital role in improving access to education and health services, thus contributing to poverty reduction.


Dr Carol Chi Ngang

 (National University of Lesotho, Lesotho)

E-mail: ngang.carol@gmail.com.

Title of Paper: Right to Development Governance: A Policy Proposition for the Kingdom of Lesotho.


In this article, we advance a right to development governance policy proposition for the Kingdom of Lesotho. The proposition is formulated on the basis that contrary to the grim realities that portray the country as one of the least developed in Africa and the world; we contend that with the correct policy approach, Lesotho presents enormous unharnessed potential to radically transform its development landscape. Lesotho’s National Strategic Development Plan II, outlines key constraints to growth and development in the country, including among others, ‘inadequate and out-dated legal, regulatory and policy frameworks’ resulting from ‘weaknesses in national governance’. National development planning falls within the ambit of futures analysis, which posits that development is characterised by multiple ones that are shaped by complex, unpredictable interplays and interactions of actors, institutions, processes and situational dynamics. It implies that development cannot be achieved by anchoring on a model that narrowly focuses on isolated aspects. However, in disregard of the multidimensional nature of development; the framework instrument focuses on an economistic market model, which has previously not demonstrated much success in transforming livelihoods and standards of living in the country. From a blend of perspectives in law, economics and political science, we inquire whether an alternative model could produce more transformative development deliverables in Lesotho. Basing on theories of futures analysis and the modelling of three development scenarios, we argue in favour of the right to development governance model for the reason of its pragmatic and transformative potential in responding to Lesotho’s multidimensional development challenges.

Co-Author(s): Dr S.I. ‘Mamokhali, Dr D.N. Yuni & Dr S. Tsoeu-Ntokoane

Dr Trevor Ngwane

 (University of Johannesburg, South Africa)

E-mail: tngwane@uj.ac.za.

Title of Paper: ‘The Land Was Stolen’: Labour Tenants and the Agrarian Question in Africa Today.


The Constitutional Court of South Africa appointed a ‘Special Master of Labour Tenants’ to supervise and ensure fast-tracking of land restitution for labour tenants in 2019. The court was scathing of the slowness and shoddiness with which the ANC government has gone about this important process of land reform and historical redress. The policy framework exists but implementation was worse than tardy. This paper considers the implications of this ground-breaking judgment for policy processes and for labour tenants and their struggle for land and secure livelihoods. It weighs the power of legal bodies, such as the newly-appointed Special Master, to strengthen this struggle vis-à-vis participatory processes involving grassroots mobilisation and protest by labour tenants. It provides context to this assessment by theoretically approaching land restitution as an aspect of the agrarian question. Some Marxist scholars have argued in their debates that the latter is closely related to the national question especially in colonial and postcolonial societies. By way of consideration of the relevance today of the popular slogan from the 1980s, ‘The land was stolen, it must be returned’, the paper revisits these debates in the quest to take forward the struggle of the labour tenants for land restitution. It considers how the failures of the ANC government in this respect can be overcome and the implications for policy in the broader African context.


Professor Ndangwa Noyoo

 (Zola Skweyiya African Social Policy Innovation (ZSASPI), University of Cape Town, South Africa)

E-mail: ndangwa.noyoo@uct.ac.za.

Title of Paper: Teaching Social Policy for Africa’s Development: A Case Study of the Department of Social Development at the University Cape Town (UCT).


This paper is based on a case study related to curriculum re-design and development at the University of Cape Town (UCT) in South Africa. It is related to the decolonisation of a university curriculum, where the authors of this paper were involved in incorporating Afrocentric theories and African content into a course titled: Comparative Social Policy in Africa, offered by the Department of Social Development at UCT. The authors were deliberate in their approach by first including African theorists, especially Thandika Mkandawire and Jimi Adesina in the said Master’s course because they wanted students to be exposed to transformative social policy. Mkandawire and Adesina, are the torchbearers of the aforementioned social policy slant. The first exercise we undertook was to revisit the philosophical underpinnings of the course and link them to the rationale for social policy in Africa. In the main, post-independence social policy in Africa was portrayed as a vehicle used by governments to engender inclusive and democratic development on the content. Then we introduced three cases studies, namely: Malawi, South Africa and Zambia. We also incorporated comparative social policy frameworks into the course. In presenting the course we segmented it into three historical periods, namely: pre-colonial, colonial, and post-colonial. The course elucidates how social policies find expression in particular socio-political and economic contexts of Africa.

Co-Author(s): Dr. Chance Chagunda

Eyene Okpanachi

 (University of South Wales, UK, United Kingdom)

E-mail: eyene.okpanachi@southwales.ac.uk.

Title of Paper: The Spatial and Temporal Dynamics of Social Protection and Vulnerability in the context of Covid-19 in Nigeria.


In this paper, we examine Covid-19 social protection responses in Nigeria. Our point of departure is the exploration of the spatial and temporal politics of this process. These dimensions have been largely neglected even though the emergence of covid-19 has drawn increasing attention to the criticality of social protection. Accordingly, there has been little focus on sub-national level responses and the relations between national and local policy interventions. This omission has obfuscated our understanding considering that Nigeria is a federal system with 36 states and 774 local governments that have primary responsibility for the delivery of social welfare programmes. Our paper therefore aims to fill an important gap. Specifically, we explore Covid-19 social protection responses in two states of the federation—Lagos and Kano—and Abuja, the federal capital territory (FCT). To account for pre-crisis and crisis vulnerabilities as well as specific government’s social protection responses, we rely on official government data from the states/FCT, various Covid-19 related household surveys produced by Nigeria’s National Bureau of Statistics, and secondary data. Using these data sources, we analyse the different politico-institutional arrangements of social protection, paying particular attention to state-federal relations and their coordination, the interlinkages between government policies and civil society engagement, and struggles by ordinary citizens for ownership and accountability of the social protection regimes. By focusing on the above issues, we aim to contribute to a better understanding of institutional processes of social protection in Africa, as well as the complex power relations involved in their design and implementation at the subnational level.

Co-Author(s): Professor Emmanuel Remi Aiyede

Dr Olusegun Oladeinde

 (Bells University of Technology, Ota, Nigeria., Nigeria)

E-mail: odeinde2004@yahoo.com.

Title of Paper: Violence, Conflicts and COVID 19 Pandemic in Nigeria – a Double-Crisis Challenge: re-thinking the Humanitarian Architecture for Sustainable Development..


The crisis inflicted by  violence, conflicts and other insurgences, and currently the post COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria, remains one of the most disruptive, and destabilizing developmental challenges in the country., in particular, in the North East and North West parts of the country; exacerbating forced displacement, social division and dislocation, thereby threatening State-Citizens cohesion.  As a result, the displaced individuals and victims fall into insidious cycle of poverty and indignity. Currently in Nigeria, initiatives targeted at bringing hope and dignified ways of life and lively-hood to the victims and vulnerable remain dim and unsatisfactory. The challenges of re-integrating and re-building social contract with the survivors of violence, conflicts, and COVID 19 pandemic remain one of the most developmental crises in Nigeria. In “leaving no survivors behind”, and to cohere the citizens with the State, vulnerable and displaced individuals need to be comprehensively integrated into a sustainable health, economic and means of lively-hood, by the public authorities, in Nigeria. While this paper seeks to interrogate the current local and international humanitarian dynamics (as drivers of social contract), that underpin the humanitarian assistance, and in combating post violent and pandemics crises, it is argued that only a transformative socio-economic policy can rekindle the hope for social cohesion, and ‘bring back’ a dignified ways of life and well-being for the victims of violence and conflicts. The paper re-conceptualizes, and contextually evaluates the ‘credentials’ of current humanitarian architecture in Nigeria, in re-building State-Citizens cohesion for sustainable lively-hood and well-being.


Lilian Olivia Orero

 (ALP Advocates East Africa, Kenya)

E-mail: orerolilian@gmail.com.

Title of Paper: Critical Reflections on Social Policy Responses to the COVID-19 Pandemic in Kenya.


This paper focusses on the social policies that the Government of Kenya has implemented during the COVID-19 Pandemic. My findings outline that the government of Kenya implemented extensive lockdowns, curfews and suspended all international flights around March 2020 to slow transmission of the virus. When it comes to providing extensive protection for jobs and enterprises, most vulnerable communities were affected immensely. This paper finds that social policy responses to the first wave of COVID-19 and the subsequent waves have been dependent on precious social policy trajectories as well as the political situation of the country during the pandemic. The government adopted a number of containment measures, including social distancing and heightened restrictions in most non-essential social spaces to gatherings; encouragement of teleworking where possible; establishment of isolation facilities; declaration of night curfew and limitations on public transportation passenger capacity. This paper analyses the fiscal, monetary and micro-financial policies that the Government of Kenya also adopted during the pandemic.


Dr Marion Ouma

 (University of South Africa, Kenya)

E-mail: marion.ouma@gmail.com.

Title of Paper: Kenya’s Social Policy response to COVID-19: Continuity in times of crisis.


Following the global outbreak of the pandemic, Kenya’s parliament passed several economic and social laws. Amendments to tax laws aimed to cushion citizens and businesses from the negative effects of the disease by increasing household income for basic needs and enabling businesses to remain in operation. Other significant measures instituted were social protection interventions in the form of cash transfers and public works programmes targeted to poor and vulnerable households. This paper examines the Government of Kenya’s social policy interventions to the pandemic and suggests that the response was characterised by underreaction and unpreparedness.  In addition, the policy choices followed a continuity path of minimal state provisioning and uncoordinated policymaking. The government’s overreliance on cash transfers as the major form of social policy intervention resulted in an inadequate, exclusionary and ill-suited response.


Dr Madalitso Phiri

 (University of Johannesburg (UJ), South Africa)

E-mail: madalitsop@uj.ac.za.

Title of Paper: The Contested Idea of Social Policy in Africa: Recasting the pan-African Nationalist Vision .


Its forty years since the implementation of the pernicious neoliberal structural reforms on the African continent in 1981. If 2021 marks the anniversary of a diabolical neocolonial project as neoliberalism, then the year 2020 signified another 40-year period of rebirth aborted, as the Lagos Plan of Action was undermined in favour of the Berg Report of 1981. These two dates constitute contesting ideas to social policy and development planning on the African continent that coincide with Thandika Mkandawire’s life’s strivings. How do Mkandawire’s ideas on social policy inspired by radical African Nationalists aid in the dismantling of contemporary forms of racialized neoliberal social policy making? Neoliberalism precipitated the demise of pan-African Nationalist social policy imaginations and sovereign development projects in place after the rise of Black Nationalists’. The year 2020 also marked his demise joining a pantheon of great African intellectuals who were his mentors, peers, and interlocutors. Yet, 2020 also marked Mkandawire’s 80th birthday whose life would have straddled two 40-year periods (1940-1980 and 1980-2020) representing periods that either enhance liberation (1940-1980) or continued oppression (1981-2021). In the Hebrew Scriptures the number forty symbolizes a period of testing, trial, probation, and renewal as evidenced in the prophetic tradition to inaugurate a new human community. Mkandawire’s scholarly corpus transgressed traditional boundaries in the social sciences, contributing to diverse fields amongst others such as African political economy of development, economics, language and intellectual history. This paper, however, recasts his scholarly corpus as a prophetic theoretician of social policy for Africa’s liberation, transformation, and development. I argue that Mkandawire’s conceptualization of social policy as transformative provides an imagination of radical humanist values at the intersection of state, society and market relations which have global implications. This contrasts with the framing of social policy as social protection ubiquitous in Africa and the world; thereby accentuating its commodification. Further, Mkandawire’s scholarly corpus provides a programmatic approach to the unmaking of a hierarchical racialized neoliberal global order.  


Malalaniaina Miora Rakotoarivelo

 (Social and Human Sciences Doctoral School, University of Antananarivo, Madagascar, Madagascar)

E-mail: rakotoarivelom5@gmail.com.

Title of Paper: Managing the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic in a context of underdevelopment: A study case from Madagascar.


The first measure adopted to slow down the dissemination of Covid-19, in Madagascar, was to lockdown the whole country, in March 2020. This included : the closure of national borders, curfews, a halt of people’s transportation, and restrictions on the opening of non essential activities. The management of the health emergency is led by an Operational Commandment Center (CCO), based in the capital. The first consequences of this unprecedented situation had already been felt on April 2020. With the support of the World Bank, the Malagasy government had set up a cash transfer mechanism to cushion the impact of the health crisis on the most vulnerable households in three clusters, such as: Antananarivo, Fianarantsoa and Tamatave. The objectives of this study are to analyze, firstly, the issues of the decision-making process carried out at by CCO; secondly, to determine the place of civil society in the socio-economic management of the crisis in Madagascar. The city of Ambositra was chosen as study area. This locality is composed at the same time by a very urban and rural lives, which is typical of Malagasy cities. The main methodology is based on an inductive approach, which starts from the study of the particular case of Ambositra, to have an overview of what could have happened, in other districts. The study will also provide recommendations on how to better manage kind of pandemic period, in a context of poverty such as Madagascar.

Co-Author(s): Prof. James Ravalison

Dr Lynsey Robinson

 (University College London, United Kingdom)

E-mail: lynsey.robinson.19@ucl.ac.uk.

Title of Paper: Education Policy in Nigeria: Exploring Education Inequalities and the Role of the Private Sector.


This paper provides an historical analysis of changes to Nigerian education policy in relation to the role of the private sector, based on a review of key policy documents. This is supplemented by interview data from around 25 key stakeholders in the education system. It pays particular attention to how different policies have addressed educational inequalities and focuses on examining the structures and processes that have affected education outcomes at primary and secondary level between the 1950s and today. It is argued that neoliberal approaches to social policy, apparent from the 1980s onwards, increased the pace at which socially inclusive policies from the 1950s and in the post-independence period unraveled. In particular, the failure to adequately finance public education and a shifting of responsibility for education spending toward households, including by encouraging the establishment of private schools, has increased inequalities within and between Nigeria’s States. 

Emphasis is then placed on the period between 2000 and the present. During this period, the significance of private finance in Nigeria’s education system escalated and has further exacerbated levels of inequality. Today, the education system is highly stratified especially in States with high rates of private sector involvement, with Nigerians of a lower socio-economic background attending underfunded public schools and the wealthy elite attending high-cost private schools. As a result, education outcomes are particularly low in States with higher rates of poverty and a less developed private sector, where rates of out-of-school children and attrition rates are high. 


Dr Adama Sadio

 (Gorée Institute, Sénégal)

E-mail: adosadio@yahoo.fr.

Title of Paper: Réflexion sur les politiques sociales du Sénégal au prisme de la démocratie et du développement .


Les deux premières décennies de la période post indépendance du Sénégal sont marquées par un contexte socioéconomique difficile avec une croissance économique instable, aggravée par des années de sécheresse. La période 1980-2000 incluant la mise en œuvre des Programmes d’ajustement structurel (PAS) a été celle du « mal vivre » des agents de l’Etat. A partir de 2000, il est constaté un tournant décisif dans les politiques sociales avec des investissements lourds, de multiples et différentes initiatives.

A l’analyse des faits, ces efforts semblent ne pas améliorer les conditions socio-économiques des concernés notamment les femmes, jeunes et handicapés.

Malgré sa trajectoire démocratique salutaire comparée à plusieurs pays africains, celle-ci n’est pas linéaire et connait parfois des soubresauts majeurs. Ces manquements semblent avoir un impact sur son développement et sa politique sociale. La démocratie libère les énergies et permet la réalisation d’un vrai développement économique et d’un vrai progrès social.

L’exemple du Botswana en est une illustration. Il est l’un des deux pays d’Afrique subsaharienne (avec le Sénégal) à n’avoir jamais connu de coup d’Etat. Il gère de manière rigoureuse et vertueuse la rente diamantaire et assure une bonne distribution des richesses. Un Etat démocratiquement solide garantit le développement et une meilleure politique sociale.

Cette communication propose d’étudier l’interconnexion vraie ou fausse de la trilogie : politique sociale = démocratie = développement au Sénégal en comparaison avec d’autres expériences africaines. 

Co-Author(s): Dr Almamy SYLLA

Dr Ndeye Faty Sarr

 (l’Université de Chicoutimi, France)

E-mail: sarrndeyefaty@yahoo.fr.

Title of Paper: Lecture critique des politiques sociales en Mauritanie, au Mali et au Sénégal.


Les politiques sociales en Mauritanie, au Mali et au Sénégal se caractérisent par une dominance des mesures de protection sociale dans sa composante aide sociale. Les autres composantes des protections sociales (la sécurité sociale et la réglementation du marché) sont très peu ou pas mises en œuvre. Ainsi, les mesures de protection sociales restent très exclusives. A titre d’exemple, les travailleurs du secteur informel, qui est le principal pourvoyeur d’emplois dans les trois pays, ne bénéficient peu ou d’aucune mesure de sécurité sociale.

De façon globale, les politiques sociales des trois pays se caractérisent par une grande faiblesse de leurs fonctions de distribution, de reproduction et d’intégration. Elles ne se sont pas aussi arrimées aux réalités locales ni aux demandes des populations. Or, la prise en compte de l’environnement socioculturel et économique propre à chaque pays est importante car elle permet l’identification des besoins ; et conséquemment, élaborer un plan de financement des politiques sociales essentielles pour le développement économique.

Cette proposition présente les différentes périodes historiques des politiques sociales en éducation et en emploi tout en analysant les retombées et les limites sociales et économiques en Mauritanie, au Mali et au Sénégal.

Co-Author(s): Dr Ndeye Faty Sarr, Professor Marie Fall, Dr Adama Sadio, Dr Almamy Sylla, Professor Ousmane Wagué

Dr Gbenga Shadare

 (Centre for Social Protection and Policy Studies, UK)

E-mail: gbengashadare@gmail.com.

Title of Paper: The governance of Nigeria’s social protection – the burdens developmental welfarism?


The rapid spread of cash transfer programmes in the global south in the past two decades have been described as a “revolution” (Hanlon et al. 2010) producing “new welfare states” (Ferguson 2015). With special reference to Africa, the proliferation of conditional and unconditional cash transfers to the poor and vulnerable is increasingly considered one of the most effective anti-poverty social policy tools. However, with limited financial capabilities and fiscal space, determining eligibility for cash transfers in many African countries is proving to be challenging politically and operationally. In Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy and most populous country, the determination of who gets what, why, and how is a herculean task, not least because of Nigeria’s reputation as a country with systemic corruption and its recent relabelling as the ‘poverty capital of the world’ (Oxfam, 2019). Amongst other things, Nigeria’s federalism, ethno-cultural, religious-cum-regional diversity and divisions heighten concerns around the (in)equitable distribution of limited welfare resources without bias towards political, social, and economic alliances.

Consequently, to understand the state of cash transfers and the politics of distribution in Nigeria, this article utilizes primary and secondary qualitative and quantitative data to analyze Nigeria’s experience with the cash revolution in Africa. Based specifically on the data and analysis of Nigeria’s flagship “In Care of the People” (COPE) conditional cash transfer (CCT) programme which commenced in 2007/2008, and later expanded and renamed the Household Uplifting Programme (HUP) CCT in 2016, the article provides nuanced analysis of cash transfers and the politics of distribution in Nigeria. The article mainly argues that whilst the cash transfer “revolution” in Nigeria represents a cardinal and new social policy response aimed at supporting the welfare of poor and vulnerable individuals and households, it emergence also produces renewed efforts by centrifugal state and non-state actors at the national and sub-national levels to deepen neo-patrimonial networks using cash transfers. Hence, the politics of distribution around COPE/HUP leads to multidimensional battles over the distribution of cash transfers among several state and non-state actors. Without much understanding to navigate the current battles amongst different actors, the article notes that the contentious politics of distribution around cash transfers in Nigeria is capable of derailing efforts to reach the poor in Africa’s most populous country.

In addition, given the notable presence and influence of international actors and stakeholders such as donors, the article also provides much needed insights into how various stakeholders at the international and national levels are navigating the cash transfer landscape in Africa. To this end, the article includes relevant analysis and policy recommendations on cash transfers on the African continent with special reference to Nigeria where concerns over marginalization echoes across religious, ethno-cultural, regional, political , socioeconomic and class lines. Combined, this article represents a pioneering critical analysis of the politics of distribution and cash transfers in Nigeria and makes a significant contribution to the literature on the emergence of “new welfare states” in the global south in general and Africa in particular.


Dr Manchuna Shanmuganathan

 (The University of Dundee Scotland, UK)

E-mail: s_manchuna@hotmail.com.

Title of Paper: Social Policy for inclusive and Democratic Development in Africa.


This paper reviews the pragmatism of social policy in Africa, in the context of democratic development. As there are many themes addressed by Thandika Mkandawire, where he had addressed these issues over a period of time by creating the notion that the social policy should directed towards development rather than recovery. Social policy that includes development strategies will eventually eradicate poverty in democratic and social contexts. Indeed, social development process brings social changes to the highest level, while incorporating international systems that are important to economic developments (UNRISD, 2015).  The reflection of Thandika Mkandawire’s work and his legacy has contributed towards development, which could possibly bring economic growth through social policy inclusion. Further, he argued that social policy lack theoretical and conceptual foundations and have suggested that it should somehow integrated with economic policy concepts for development process. However, one factor that still plays an important role in social policy is the persistence of poverty despite the economic success Africa had in the 1960s.   Nevertheless, due to lack of contribution towards democratic developments based on voters substantial demands have created the notion that developing countries have emerged under the dark cloud of neoliberalism, especially in Africa. Where, Thandika Mkandawire have indicated on the methodology which  recognizes the importance of democratic politics and the critical role of ideas, interests and structures that play in transforming African societies. Neopatrimonialism may be pointing towards social practices and social hierarchies in Africa, only has little predictive value.


Biruk Shewadeg

 (Addis Ababa Science and Technology University, Ethiopia)

E-mail: biruk.shewadeg@aastu.edu.et.

Title of Paper: Rethinking Democratic Developmental State in Ethiopia.


Ethiopia adopts a democratic developmental state following the success stories of the East Asian Tigers. Indeed, many of the exemplars of developmental state claimed to ignore the democratic aspect of a developmental state. The Ethiopian government, before the current reform, claims to fill the gap and attempts to implement developmental state while incorporating democracy as well. An achievement of a fast and sustained economic growth for the past decade and half may not be contested. However, the paper, cognizant of the tacit contradictions in an attempt of fully realizing the given political economy argues for rethinking of such a model. Heterogeneity of the constituents; and ethnic federalism that is responsible for a bureaucracy which appears to be ineffective and inefficient that can carry the huge government initiatives; the loss of a nation-wide public; and a limited elite commitment among others, pose a formidable challenge for the absolute success of democratic developmental state in the country. As a way of addressing the points thereof, the paper is basically divided in to two sections of first an attempt is made to conceptualize the ideals of developmental and democratic developmental states and secondly the contradictions between the rhetoric of erecting democratic developmental state and the objective realities in the Ethiopian case is discussed.


Dr Kenneth Simala

 (Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology, Kenya)

E-mail: simalainyani@gmail.com.

Title of Paper: Language, Social Policy and Sustainable Development Discourse: Looking Back to the Future of Africa.


This presentation is inspired by comments made by Thandika Mkandawire at the London School of Economics and Political Science Africa Summit Research Conference held in 2017 on the theme ‘Built for Africa: African Solutions to African Issues’. At a panel he chaired, Thandika decried Africa’s linguistic dependence that is so often not critically examined and adequately addressed in the development of the continent. Looking back at the intellectuals of the generation of Cheikh Anta Diop and Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, Thandika opined that there is urgent need to reflect on African languages as strategic social institutions that play an empowering role in African development and democracy. Thandika’s views are similar to those held by Claude Ake who in 1972 hailed Nyerere as one of the rare leaders of newly independent Africa who showed much capacity and determination to deal imaginatively with development challenges on the continent. Nyerere identified language as a key factor in his quest for sustainable development and democracy. Drawing on the ideas of Thandika and other African intellectuals, this paper critical reflects on the language factor in African development and Pan-Africanism that has dominated the continent for about six decades now. It argues that Africa’s linguistic reality offers a compelling need for social policy development that takes into account the ways in which language is an imperative agent and an intrinsic aspect of sustainable development on the continent.


Dr Almamy Sylla

 (Université des Lettres et des Sciences Humaines de Bamako (ULSHB), Mali)

E-mail: syllaalmamy@gmail.com.

Title of Paper: Examen des politiques sociales éducatives et de l’emploi au Mali.


Les politiques sociales postcoloniales au Mali sont héritières de la colonisation qui jeta leurs bases institutionnelles. L’État providence du régime socialiste, la libéralisation économique et l’ajustement structurel sous les régimes militaire et démocratique ont marqué les étapes et les orientations majeures des politiques sociales au Mali. L’examen de ces politiques permet de se rendre compte qu’elles ont été quelque peu exclusives dans la mesure où leur spectre d’intervention cible plus le secteur de l’économie formelle alors que la grande majorité vit de l’informel. C’est l’une des lacunes majeures que les politiques sociales ont du mal à circonscrire. Cette communication propose une analyse des politiques sociales en matière d’éducation et d’emploi au Mali de la colonisation occidentale à nos jours. Elle vise la présentation des trajectoires historiques de ces politiques, leurs situations actuelles, leurs postulats ainsi que leurs perspectives. L’avènement du Covid-19 est venu rappeler à l’État l’impérieuse nécessité de renforcer les politiques sociales par la prise en compte des besoins et des spécificités des couches les plus touchées (vivant des systèmes économiques informels, femmes, jeunes diplômés et personnes en situation de handicap). Ces nouvelles orientations politiques, bien que circonstancielles, n’occultent pas la défaillance de la politique sociale, notamment la faible prise en charge des besoins spécifiques des groupes vulnérables, les lacunes dans la planification et l’opérationnalisation des politiques sociales et leur défaut d’arrimage avec les réalités sociales, économiques et politiques.

Co-Author(s): Dr Adama Sadio

Belmondo Tanankem Voufo

 (Competitiveness Committee of the Ministry of Economy, Planning and Regional Development of Cameroon, Cameroon)

E-mail: tanankemvoufo@yahoo.fr.

Title of Paper: Linking Migration and Household Welfare in Cameroon: Zooming into the Effect of Return Migration on Self-employment.


This paper investigates the effects of migration on household welfare and labour market participation (self-employment) in Cameroon. The Principal Component Analysis is used to construct an asset index combining 26 assets variables capturing ownership of household consumer goods (TV, washing machine, radio, etc.), productive assets (land, agricultural equipment, livestock, etc.), and access to basic utility services (potable water, electricity, sanitation, etc.). The data used for the analyses were gathered from the survey on the impact of migration on development in Cameroon conducted in 2012 by the Observatory on Migration of the African Caribbean Organization, in collaboration with the Institute of Demographic Research and Training. Making use of robust identification strategies to handle the endogeneity and selectivity issues, the study finds that having a migrant member or receiving remittances increases the households’ per capita expenditures, and reduces the likelihood of living below the poverty line. In addition, migration and remittances contribute to the accumulation of consumer assets, to access to basic utility services, but do not significantly affect productive assets ownership. Besides, self-employment is more likely to occur in households having a return migrant, while receiving remittances decreases the probability of being self-employed. Meanwhile, the effect of the presence of absent migrants in the household on self-employment decision is negative but insignificant.


Dr Verena Tandrayen-Ragoobur

 (University of Mauritius, Mauritius)

E-mail: v.tandrayen@uom.ac.mu.

Title of Paper: Vulnerability, Resilience and Social Policy Responses of African Economies in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.


The objective of the study is to assess the vulnerability and resilience of African countries to the COVID-19 pandemic and analyse the social policy responses put in place to mitigate the health, social and economic impact of the crisis.  The degree of exposure, risk and coping ability differ across African nations but also within the African society across different segments of the population with the vulnerable ones being the most affected.  In essence differences in vulnerability and resilience will be assessed by first building a COVID-19 Vulnerability and Resilience Index (COVRI) for a sample of African economies.  Our methodology rests on the use of macroeconomic data for 25 African economies from 1990 to 2020, to compute a comprehensive and multidimensional index and create a dashboard to enable a comparative analysis across African economies.   The arithmetic mean with equal weightage of the different dimensions and the Principal Component Analysis will be applied to generate the index.  The study will create an index and a ranking of the vulnerability and resilience of African economies to COVID-19 pandemic and compare the social policy responses used across the region.  The study fills an important gap by linking the vulnerability and resilience of African economies to the coronavirus and the social policy framework and their specific social strategies put in place in the midst of COVID-19.


Professor Gabriel Tati

 (University of the Western Cape, South Africa)

E-mail: gtati@uwc.ac.za.

Title of Paper: Living on the fringes of public assistance in time of COVID-19 pandemic crisis: The plight of African forced migrants in the city of Cape Town (South Africa).


This paper examines the increasing marginalisation of forced migrants (refugees and asylum seekers) of African origin in the context of the multifaceted crisis generated by the COVID-19. It also discusses the responses of these forced migrants to the mechanisms of exclusion from institutional support which the local government is providing to mitigate the impact of covid-19 on vulnerable people in the city of Cape Town. The data to investigate the associated issues around the marginalisation  are derived from a diversity of sources, mostly qualitative, supplemented by administrative. A purposive survey of forced migrants is also used is used to highlight the voices of forced migrants in various contexts.  The results reported in the article suggest that under the on-going COVID-19, there has been an increased difficult access to employment for forced African migrants, even in the most precarious forms of it. Most of them are denied access to their unemployment insurance fund (for those who have been working and have lost their job), the basic income given to unemployed south Africans are not given to them. Because of the incapacity to afford rental housing, most of these forced migrants live in communal temporary shelters with the increased risk of catching the corona virus. As the issuing of refugees documents has been restrained, some forced migrants have now reversed to illegality in terms of status. Others cannot regularise their status for the same reason. In large numbers, the mounting difficult conditions are prompting some forced migrants to return to their country of origin or to relocate in other countries. In this situation of COVID-19 related crisis, the associations established by forced migrants are playing a major in providing them with the needed social support.  Overall, the responses of the South Africa government have been mostly ineffective in improving the deteriorating living conditions of both women and men forced migrants.


Dr Newman Tekwa

 (University of South Africa (South African Research Chair in Social Policy), South Africa)

E-mail: tekwanewman@gmail.com.

Title of Paper: ‘Global Policies versus ‘Local Realities.’ Water Policy Reforms in Zimbabwe and South Africa.


The concept of Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM), emanating from countries of the global north, particularly temperate regions, morphed from a mere normative or prescriptive concept to a global policy discourse that led to homogenous re-writing of national water policies in many countries of the south drawing on the principles of IWRM. Despite similar colonial experiences that led to acute racial inequalities in access to water, Zimbabwe and South Africa have been described as the leading adopters of IWRM strategy in Southern Africa at the behest of multilateral and bilateral donor agencies with contradictory outcomes at local level. Framed within the Transformative Social Policy framework and using primary and secondary comparative data from Zimbabwe and South Africa, the paper investigates the extent to which external and expert-driven management ideas, administrative and institutional arrangements undermine ‘democratic’ means of decision making with policy outcomes detrimental to welfare of local citizens, particularly smallholder farmers. While Zimbabwe had dispensed with the IWRM definition of water as an economic good democratizing access to water to support its post-2000 social order, South Africa remained steeped in neoliberal governance of water resources with smallholder land reform beneficiaries settled on ‘dry’ land excluded from IWRM water governance channels. I argue for autonomous endogenous policymaking processes in the water sector based on democratic popular interests that speak to the lived realities of those affected by the policy outcomes.

Co-Author(s): Dr. B. Dube

Professor Dzodzi Tsikata

 (Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana, Ghana)

E-mail: dtsikata@ug.edu.gh.

Title of Paper: Deepening Gender Equity in Transformative Social Policy: Social Reproduction and the Informal Economy.


Thandika Mkandawire’s prodigious scholarship has offered a radical critique of the dominant social protection agenda that is integral to economic liberalisation. This scholarship, which continues to shape the thinking of scholars of social policy has acquired a new urgency in discussions about rebuilding Africa beyond COVID-19. A new continental research effort, the Gender Equitable and Transformative Social Policy for Africa’s post-covid Societies (GETSPA) is explicitly anchored in Mkandawire’s agenda of transformative social policy, while seeking to deepen its attentiveness to gender equitable transformations in social policy and social development outcomes. This paper interrogates the notion of a gender equitable and transformative social policy by engaging with one of the functions of social policy – social reproduction (of self-employed workers in the informal economy). We argue that production, redistribution and protection are all gendered processes that contribute to social reproduction as theorised and applied in the feminist political economy literature (Mies, 1986; Folbre, 1986; Fraser, 2016; Naidu and Ossome, 2016; Bhattacharya, 2017). The paper examines the preoccupations and developments in the theorisation of social reproduction, particularly the re-centring of non-market relations and activities involved in the reproduction of workers. We note that even at its most expansive, social policy did not prioritise social reproduction because its productivist logic failed to appreciate the reproductive subsidies enjoyed by market production within extroverted capitalism and the intersecting class, gender and generational inequalities that were entrenched as a result. We offer some reflections on an agenda for gender equitable and transformative social policy.


Dr Marianne Ulriksen

 (University of Southern Denmark, Denmark)

E-mail: mu@sam.sdu.dk.

Title of Paper: Bringing Theory to Life in Social Justice Research.


Theories of social justice are important foundations for our normative understandings of social policy. However, it is challenging to apply the abstract theories to actual social policy issues in Africa and elsewhere. Late Professor Tessa Hochfeld made an eminent contribution in this regard: Hochfeld positioned herself within the social justice research tradition but was not satisfied with normative ideas of utopian societies; rather theory was only useful in its ability to present solutions and to highlight gaps in states’ efforts to create just societies. This paper is written in honour of Hochfeld’s life and work. In the paper, we propose several characteristics of theory within social justice-oriented research aiming towards positive change, which Hochfeld through her methodological approach and empirical investigations contributed to. These characteristics of social justice theory are that it is (i) instrumental, (ii) emancipatory, (iii) incomplete, (iv) paradox-sensitive, and (v) relational. We end by bringing these characteristics together to discuss some of the  implications for the epistemology of social justice research, for the nature of the state, and for the nature of social policy solutions.

Co-Author(s): Dr Sophie Plagerson

Dr Salimah Valiani

 (Independent, South Africa)

E-mail: valianisalimah@gmail.com.

Title of Paper: The Africa Care Economy Index.


This paper offers a comprehensive evaluation of the performance of African states with regard to recognition and redistribution of caring work. With the COVID-19 pandemic ongoing in Africa, there is rising interest in the care economy, including by intergovernmental bodies. The paper argues that the care economy has long been unrecognised in the African continent and is a major area for social policy development. At least since the last pandemic — HIV-AIDS — caring work has been severely undervalued and redistribution of caring work close to nonexistent. Beginning with a theoretical discussion of care economy and related concepts relevant to Africa, the paper selects and reviews legislation and expenditure data for each country of the continent, evaluating each along ten metrics argued to compose a ‘care economy index’. For each metric, recommendations for the socialisation of caring work, via state policies, are presented, based on contextual analysis specific to the African continent. The socialisation of caring work is argued to be central to  building holistic development in the continent. 


Dr Anna Wolkenhauer

 (University of Bremen, Germany)

E-mail: anna.wolkenhauer@uni-bremen.de.

Title of Paper: Social Policy and State Formation: Comparative insights from the Social Cash Transfer and FISP in Zambia.


Even though social policy constitutes one of the state’s core functions, the connections between social policy and state formation remain underexplored. After a period of neoliberal state retrenchment, since around the turn of the new millennium, states have assumed a more central role, including in social policy. Yet, it is not clear what kind of transformation and renegotiation states themselves undergo while they carry them out. In this presentation, I reflect on findings from my PhD research, in which I developed an answer to the question: how is the state reconstituted within social policy after retrenchment?

My analysis is based on empirical research in Zambia, which spanned several years with the main data collection conducted between late 2016 and early 2018. Through a Grounded Theory analysis of qualitative data, I derived several processes by which state formation occurs through social policy. In this presentation, I give an overview of my findings with a focus on the differences between the social cash transfer (SCT) and the farmer input support programme (FISP). I argue that in both programmes, state formation can be observed, by which I mean the expansion of the central state into the peripheries of the country. This happens through various ways: by increasing knowledge, awareness and responsibilities; and by laying out avenues for communication with marginalised citizens. Overall, however, due to the enshrining of the neoliberal consensus that states be reduced to a minimum, while expanding its reach, the state simultaneously manifests its boundaries, too.


Dr Nqobile Zulu

 (Studies in Poverty and Inequality Institute, South Africa)

E-mail: nqobile@spii.org.za.

Title of Paper: Critical Reflections on Social Policy Responses to the Covid-19 Pandemic: lessons from Namibia.


The paper reflects on a crucial contribution to the Social Policy discussion of Covid19 using the response by Namibia. Although it does not document the BIG process extensively, it is based on critical reflections by Namibian stakeholders and the likelihood of implementation in this context. Its analysis and contextualization of the study findings can be linked to South African historical ties which plays a critical role in embedding the socio-economic and political sphere of the two countries. This paper places Namibia as a case study from which lessons can be drawn particularly the speedy manner in which the Emergency Income Grant was rolled out, reflecting how state systems can be made efficient if the political will is there. The analysis of the role of the church and civil society and their struggle to push a consistent and singular agenda on Social Protection is reminiscent of some of the struggles faced by civil society in South Africa when holding the state to account for safety nets in budget policy. Drawing on the many parallels between the two countries,  the paper is timely especially in the discussion of extension of BIG in South Africa, in light of Covid19 pandemic and the dire effect it has had on the economy and subsequently increasing the poverty rate. The conclusion aptly foregrounds the context of BIG in Namibia whilst also pointing to the likely scenarios that may happen if proper planning and execution is not put in place to prepare for the future.

Co-Author(s): Guillermo Delgado Dandago

Dr Kwashirai Zvokuomba

 (University of Johannesburg/Zimbabwe Ezekiel Guti University, Zimbabwe)

E-mail: zvokuombak@gmail.com.

Title of Paper: Human Security and the State as a Security Provider in the Post Fast Track Land Reform in Zimbabwe: Human Factor Approach Review..


Debates about how and why land reform are carried out dominate both the academic and policy discourse in agrarian studies in Africa and the world over. The same debates in Zimbabwean took and continue to take livelihoods and political economy perspectives focusing mainly on the ownership structures, inequalities in ownership patterns and livelihoods outcomes of land reforms. Despite a plethora of land reform studies from other perspective, there is a limited connectional analysis of land ownership and human security in its broad context. The study utilises field based evidence to fill the gap by developing new knowledge claims about human security and land ownership. Deploying the narrative inquiry within the broad qualitative research design in the context of the human factor approach, the study gleaned the lived experiences of beneficiaries of the Fast Track Land Reform in Masvingo who are now owners of land and argue that human security goes beyond the traditional meaning of physical security in resettled spaces but also imply the human well-being, human safety, dignity and social security. Based on the evidence from the field, the study conclude that the state leaves big gap in terms of providing human security as citizens continue to  experience insecurity including weakened land tenure. As a consequence, there is low investments in the farms years after the Fast Track Land Reform, low productivity, a weak social protection system and physical security especially during political electioneering. The research article recommends that the state as a provider and enabler of human security in resettled communities ought to revisit its approach and embrace human security from a broad perspective.

Co-Author(s): Dr Freedom Mazwi

Dr. Newman Tekwa

(University of South Africa, South Africa)

GETSPA Session

Email: tekwanewman@gmail.com

Title of Paper: Gender and Social policy in Africa: A Transformative Social Policy Perspective


While issues of gender equality in social welfare increasingly received greater attention in the Global North with feminist scholars critiquing the foundational dimensions of welfare state, how should we theorize the same under conditions of preponderant informal employment? Can social policies catalyze and support agrarian transitions and structural transformation in Africa? What remain for endogenous gender transformative social policies in a context of hollowed out state capacity for autonomous policymaking? With State feminism a non-option, what potential alliances exist outside the State for gender transformative social policies? Few entry points to engender comprehensive academic and policy discussions on gender and social policy in Africa.

Prof. Nana Akua Anyidoho

(University of Ghana, Ghana)

Email: pis.getspa.ias@ug.edu.gh

Title of Paper: The Military and Social Policy in Africa


With a succession of military coups in many African countries, it is easy to regard the 1960s and 1970s as an undifferentiated period of regression in or, at best, a suspension of the socio-economic progress of the immediate post-independence years. The Gender Equitable and Transformative Social Policy in Post-COVID 19 Africa (GETSPA) provides the opportunity to add complexity to this conventional narrative. In its first year, the project has produced chronological accounts of policymaking in over 20 countries in Africa, providing rich material for a comparative analysis of the military and social policy. The paper provides preliminary considerations of the following questions:

· What were the content of and goals for social policymaking by military regimes in this era?

· In what ways did military regimes demonstrate both continuity and discontinuity with social policymaking in the immediate post-independence era?

· In what ways did they influence the trajectory of social policymaking in subsequent (civilian) governments?

Prof. Ramola Ramtohul

(University of Mauritius, Mauritius)

Email: r.ramtohul@uom.ac.mu

Title of Paper: Gender Equitable and Transformative Social Policy for Post-COVID-19 Africa: The case of Mauritius


This paper examines the gender dimensions of social policies adopted and implemented in Mauritius since independence. Mauritius is a small island African economy in the Indian Ocean with a plural society entirely composed of the descendants of migrants. Since independence, Mauritius has maintained a comprehensive welfare state with universal pensions as well as free health and education. Mauritius has been praised for its economic success and democratic and political stability. The welfare state played a major role in attenuating potential social and ethnic conflict in the country as the different groups in the population were very divided over the issue of independence. The welfare state and social policies adopted took care of the basic needs of all groups in the population, leading to a redistributive policy with spill over effects. Although the welfare state was patriarchal and guided by a male breadwinner ideology rather than a gender egalitarian, women and girls were major beneficiaries. The free health services and free education contributed significantly to the eventual economic empowerment of women in the country. The welfare state is however under pressure and requires reorientation in the current era dominated by neoliberalism.

Dr. Clementina Furtado

(Université du Cap-Vert, Cap-Vert)

Email: furtadoneth@gmail.com

Title of Paper: Social Policy Trajectories in PALOPs: Internal Dynamics and Impact of Social Policies for Gender Equality


The PALOPs gained independence late as compared to the Francophone and Anglophone countries. The PALOPs were colonized by the same country and gained independence at the same time. Civil wars broke out in their geographical location as a result of political and social crises. It has also brought about distinct internal dynamics as well as drought and desertification at different times in Angola, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique and Cape Verde. These factors have different influences on social policy priorities in each country. This paper examines the Impact of Social Policies on Gender Equality, seeking to bring to light the similarities and differences between these four countries.

Dr. Adama SADIO

(Université Virtuel du Sénégal, Sénégal)

Email : adosadio@yahoo.fr

Title of Paper: Comparative Reflection on the Trilogy of Interconnection: Democracy – Development and Social Protection in Sub-Saharan Africa


The correlation between democracy, development and social protection seems natural. Developed countries are distinguished by the good quality of their democratic and social protection systems. Generally, political crises arise from the disregard of democratic principles and human rights and weaken the state of the economy.

However, it is important to put this into perspective. In sub-Saharan Africa and elsewhere, authoritarian regimes have made quantum economic leaps with developed social protection systems. The introduction of democracy in the country has not brought about global peace and better social protection systems.

Prof. Julius Omona

(Makerere University, Uganda)

Email: julius.omona@mak.ac.ug

Title of Paper: Unpaid Care Work and Gender Inequality in Uganda. Towards a Transformative Social Policy for Post COVID-19 Uganda


This is part of the ongoing GETSPA project, on the theme ‘work and employment’, but this piece focuses on the gendered unpaid work in Uganda today. This focus has been premised on the fact that all gender equality work related social policies target the formal sectors, yet most women and girls are employed in the informal sector. It addresses the nature of care work, manifestations, severity of inequality and recommendations for a transformative work-related gender policy. It is a qualitative research. The key finding is that government should provide accessible social services such as piped water and rural electrification so that women and girls spend less time on accessing such services.