Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, on Friday, delivered a keynote address at the launch of the ‘Social Safety Nets Africa Report’ by the World Bank.
In her address, the Minister gave some contextual background on the importance of undertaking a continent-wide approach for social safety-nets, saying that “extreme poverty remains a pervasive phenomenon, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa”.
Ahmed mentioned that in wake to the complexity of these issues, governments in these regions have initiated several programs to “halt the spread of poverty”.
The Minister said that the Nigerian government has established several social intervention programmes such as the ERGP, the NSIP to “give life of dignity to all Nigerians especially the poor”.
According to Minister Ahmed, from the preview of the report “a lot of interventions are occurring in Africa” and some trends worth noting are;
(i) that Social registries are currently used in 23 countries and are being developed in 13 countries;
(ii) there is an emphasis on strengthening coordination among programmes and investing in shared systems to reduce the duplication of efforts and cost inefficiencies is evolving;
(iii) there is also a shift towards greater use of cash in social safety nets;
(iv) there is an increasing number of programmes put emphasis on building the productive capacity and resilience of beneficiary households;
(v) there is increased focus on promoting human capital development; and
(vi) a growth in social safety nets in urban settings. Very interesting for us as a people is that the report highlighted the fact that social safety nets are widely used as short term responses to shocks.