African social security leaders from 35 countries have called for increased political priority to be given to social security. The call was made during the recently concluded first Regional Social Security Forum for Africa, held at Kigali Serena hotel.
At the closure of the conference, participants affirmed the central role of social security in ensuring the regions sustainable and equitable development.
They, however, underscored that greater political will is required if social security coverage is to benefit a wider population.
According to the Secretary General of the International Social Security Association (ISSA), Hans-Horst Konkolewsky, the need for political commitment was strongly supported during the debate.
“Firstly, the social security should be at the top of the political agenda across Africa because of its documented ability to ensure socially inclusive and economically productive development,” he said.
“Stronger links between social security organisations and other national and international actors involved in Africa’s development, including financial institutions and donors, are critical if we are to achieve progress,” he added.
According to recommendations from the meeting, social security managers present at the event agreed that they had a special responsibility to provide political decision-makers with the necessary expertise for the development of national social security programmes, and the administrative basis for their successful implementation.
The recommendation for political commitment comes after Rwanda’s Prime Minister, Bernard Makuza, stressed the need to increase social protection coverage in Africa.
He said that the forum was an “opportune moment” for social security in Africa to find African solutions that can overcome obstacles to the extension of coverage.
“Social security has a key role in the development of Africa. Different social security systems have got varying effects on growth, people’s living standards and poverty alleviation,” Makuza explained.
At the forum, a new ISSA report, ‘Dynamic Social Security for Africa,’ was launched. It highlights significant progress in the extension of social security coverage. It also recognises that major gaps in coverage persist in Africa.
Participants based on the findings of the report to discuss how the gaps in coverage can be minimised. Addressing the Forum, James Musoni, the Minister of Finance of Rwanda, reminded the participants of the importance of undertaking reforms to improve the governance and delivery of social security.