Ministry of Labour and Social Protection CS, Simon Chelugui opens the inclusive and Just Social Protection in Africa Conference held at the Tamarind Tree Hotel in Nairobi. He is accompanied by Chief Administrative Secretary, State Department for Social Protection Patrick Ole Ntutu.
By Bernadette Khaduli
The National Safety Net Programme (NSNP) that was launched in 2012 by the government to assist ,consolidate and enhance the four public cash transfer programmes that assist the needy in society, currently covers over 1.3 million vulnerable households.
The four programmes are the Older Persons Cash Transfer, Orphans and Vulnerable Children Cash Transfer, Persons with Severe Disability Cash Transfer and the Hunger Safety Net Programme.
Cabinet Secretary Ministry for Labour and Social Protection Simon Chelugui said the benefiting households receive a monthly cash transfer of Sh 2000 which has helped to improve their livelihoods.
He added that the government through the Hunger Safety Net programme which has helped to reduce poverty as articulated in Vision 2030, provided Sh26.3 million top-up payments to 12,054 in July, 2021 to beneficiaries who met the eligibility criteria for nutrition through Cash and Health Education Programme under the Kenya Social and Economic Inclusion Project (KSEIP).
Chelugui who was speaking at a Nairobi hotel while officially opening the two-day Inclusive and Just Social Protection in Africa conference said currently the four programmes are reaching an estimated 12 percent of vulnerable people across the country.
“This is a substantial increase from the 500 households of orphans and vulnerable children targeted at the start of the programme two decades ago,” said the CS.
He said despite the significant efforts put in place by various governments in Africa to cushion its citizenry from the negative economic consequences of Covid-19, unemployment challenge rate has increased by 0.7 percent, resulting in about 40 million people in the continent living in poverty.
“Faced with common struggle and common desire to emerge stronger and reduce poverty, it is important as Pan African Community to deliberate, exchange ideas and build the Africa we want,” said Chelugui.
He reiterated Kenya government’s commitment to ensure that all Kenyans live in dignity and are able to exploit their full human capabilities for their own social and economic wellbeing.
The CS at the same time stated his ministry with the support from World Bank and the Foreign Commonwealth Development Office started the KSEIP project in March 2019 to strengthen social protection delivery systems.
He said the systems are aimed at enhancing access to social and economic inclusion services and shock-responsive safety nets for poor and vulnerable households, and added that through KSEIP, the government intends to roll out a nutrition sensitive cash transfer programme to counties with high levels of stunting and malnutrition.
Counties that also promote structures increase and enrolment of national Safety Net Programme beneficiaries under the National Hospital Insurance Fund and have pilot economic inclusion interventions will also benefit.
Chelugui said Africa Union’s Agenda 2063 Framework that is based on inclusive growth and sustainable development requires all countries in Africa to set three national targets by the year 2023 which include setting at least 30 percent of vulnerable populations among them persons with disabilities, older persons and children be provided with social protection.
Other requirements are that all persons working in the formal sector be provided with social security and at least 20 percent of the informal sector and rural labour should have access to social security.
“Despite remarkable success stories, many African nations remain a long way from achieving long-lasting transformation of the individuals and communities targeted by our social protection programmes,” observed the CS.
The conference that was convened by the Partnership for African Social and Governance Research (PASGR) themed ‘Innovative, Inclusive and Afrocentric Social Protection: Leveraging Voices and Representation in the Era of the Pandemic’ focuses on progressively refining the social protection agenda in Africa to realise the right approach that is sustainable and unlocks the continent’s transformative potential
The conference that had drawn the Pan African community delegates from across the continent will articulate the Post Pandemic Social protection agenda for Africa, deepen trust and understanding of social protection in the continent and identify strategic follow-up actions for Post Covid Social Protection Agenda.