Social protection: Fast and fair support for African families
As COVID-19 and other shocks continue to impact sub-Saharan Africa, what is needed most is access to social protection and cash transfers
COVID-19 has been catastrophic for families across sub-Saharan Africa. A year into the pandemic, the continent has seen more than 50 million people driven into extreme poverty.
UNICEF is calling for smart debt relief, more external funding and a more equitable response that provides African families with a similar amount of economic stimulus and social safety net support that governments in wealthier nations have availed to their families. Getting cash transfers to the most vulnerable families in sub-Saharan Africa is a big part of the answer to so many of their current problems. A tiny commitment by international standards can deliver enormous gains – from ensuring they have enough food to eat to getting children back into the classroom and learning, to protecting them from violence, early marriage and teenage pregnancy. Cash transfer programs can also boost economic growth and reduce income inequality.
The stories told here demonstrate the realities of the socio-economic crisis across sub-Saharan Africa, the debilitating impacts of debt repayments, and the opportunities to help families with access to social protection and direct cash transfers.
Join UNICEF in encouraging all leaders to support African families at their time of greatest need.
In 2020, over 250 million students in sub-Saharan Africa were impacted by school closures – that’s in addition to the 100 million school-age children who were out of school before the pandemic…
COVID shocks hit hard in Africa
Compounding economic shocks in sub-Saharan Africa brought on by the global pandemic have meant that 50 million people were pushed into extreme poverty in 2020.
The next time the world gets together to debate the future – whether it be at the United Nations General Assembly, the World Bank Fall Meetings, the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting or the G20 Summit – let’s make sure that the spotlight shines brightly on Africa’s children and practical ways to ensure they grow up healthy, educated and ready for their future. Smart debt relief should be viewed as a first step in a much larger support package for the continent, for its children, and its economic and development potential.