(Wednesday 10th October, 2018 Issue)
Social Security and Housing Finance Corporation (SSHC) and the International Social Security Association (ISSA) are hosting a three-day social protection training on the theme: Good governance, strategic planning and risk management. The forum currently underway at a hotel in Kololi, seeks to boast global security.
Serign Jallow, chairman of SSHFC/ISSA board of directors said there is emerging global consensus that social protection or social security is a human right, saying it is defined as a set of policies and programmes designed to reduce and prevent poverty and vulnerability throughout the life cycle.
He said over the years, social protection has proven to be an effective strategy in minimizing the incidence of poverty as shown by the extensive evaluation of several global programmes.
Jallow indicated that the 55th Commission on Social Development, which is the institution of social protection, is one of the clearest means of fulfilling the vision of eradicating poverty and achieving sustainable development for all.
“Social protection has rightly been recognized as a component in the delivery of the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda under the goals of poverty reduction. Throughout Africa, the informal economy remains largely out of reach for traditional contributory schemes,” he said.
In many parts of the region, social security remains limited to only certain parts of the population and despite Africa’s relatively young population, it is estimated that the number of older persons in the region will rise to over 200 million by 2050.
According to him, all African Union member states have made political commitments to social protection, and almost every country has developed a national social protection strategy.
Lamin Camara of the Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs said the government of The Gambia recognizes social protection as an essential component of effective national development strategies that combine inclusive economic growth and basic social service/assistance provision. “Most of the workforce in The Gambia consists of the informal economy with agriculture taking the largest part of it.”
Mr. Camara said most of these workers are not adequately covered by public measures and often rely on informal support mechanisms. “Subsequently, they constitute the most vulnerable sector of society and are often susceptible to the consequences of economic, social and environmental shocks.”
Lack of effectual policies to mitigate these shocks, he said, has led to myriad of crises including food insecurity and the mass migration of Sub-Saharan African youth to the EU through the high Mediterranean Sea.
He further stated that government’s recognition of social security as human right coupled with the universally agreed notion that it helps reduce poverty, Gambia’s commitment to develop a strong and efficient social security/protection system has been clearly outlined in the country’s National Development Plan (2018 to 2021).