Book
The Politics of Social Protection in Eastern and Southern Africa

The notion that social protection should be a key strategy for reducing poverty in developing countries has now been mainstreamed within international development policy and practice. Promoted as an integral dimension of the post-Washington Consensus all major international development agencies and bilateral donors now include a strong focus on social protection in their advocacy and programmatic interventions and a commitment to providing social protection was recently enshrined within the Sustainable Development Goals. The rhetoric around social protection, particularly when delivered in the form of cash transfers, has sometimes reached hyperbolic proportions with advocates seeing it as a magic bullet that can tackle multi-dimensional problems of poverty, vulnerability, and inequality and a southern-led success story that challenges the unequal power relations inherent within international aid. 

The Politics of Social Protection in Eastern and Southern Africa challenges the common conception that this phenomenon has been entirely driven by international development agencies, instead focusing on the critical role of political dynamics within specific African countries. It details how the power and politics at multiple levels of governance shapes the extent to which political elites are committed to social protection, the form that this commitment takes, and the implications that this has for future welfare regimes and state-citizen relations in Africa. It reveals how international pressures only take hold when they become aligned with the incentives and ideas of ruling elites in particular contexts. It shows how elections, the politics of clientelism, political ideologies, and elite perceptions all play powerful roles in shaping when countries adopt social protection and at what levels, which groups receive benefits, and how programmes are delivered.

Table of contents
  1. 1. The negotiated politics of social protection in East and Southern Africa
    Sam Hickey, Tom Lavers, Miguel Niño-Zarazúa and Jeremy Seekings
    More Working Paper | The negotiated politics of social protection in sub-Saharan Africa
  2. 2. Building a conservative welfare state in Botswana
    Jeremy Seekings
    More Working Paper | Building a conservative welfare state in Botswana
  3. 3. Distributional concerns, the ‘developmental state’ and the agrarian origins of social assistance in Ethiopia
    Tom Lavers
    More Working Paper | Social protection in an aspiring ‘developmental state’
  4. 4. Understanding elite commitment to social protection: Rwanda’s Vision 2020 Umurenge Programme
    Tom Lavers
    More Working Paper | Understanding elite commitment to social protection
  5. 5. Pushing for policy innovation: The framing of social protection policies in Tanzania
    Marianne Ulriksen
    More Working Paper | Ideational and institutional drivers of social protection in Tanzania
  6. 6. Policy diffusion, domestic politics, and social assistance in Lesotho, 1998-2012
    Maria Granvik
    More Working Paper | Policy diffusion, domestic politics and social assistance in Lesotho, 1998–2012
  7. 7. The politics of promoting social cash transfers in Zambia
    Kate Pruce and Sam Hickey
    More Working Paper | The politics of promoting social protection in Zambia
  8. 8. The politics of promoting social protection in Uganda: A comparative analysis of social cash transfers and social health insurance
    Badru Bukenya and Sam Hickey
    More Working Paper | The politics of promoting social cash transfers in Uganda
  9. 9. Social assistance, electoral competition, and political branding in Malawi
    Sam Hamer and Jeremy Seekings
    More Working Paper | Social protection, electoral competition, and political branding in Malawi
  10. 10. Who should get what, how and why?: DfID and the transnational politics of social cash transfers in sub-Saharan Africa
    Sam Hickey and Jeremy Seekings
    More Working Paper | The global politics of social protection
Show all