Social Protection: Evidence, political economy and the role of development cooperation in responding to new challenges

Social protection programmes have played an important role in countries’ development strategies. They have proven to reduce poverty and protect people against shocks, including in the recent covid-19 pandemic, and other economic and climate-related shocks. Social protection has been part of Swedish development cooperation over the past 25 years and is today recognised as one of the cornerstones of inclusive economic and social development.

In September 2023, the Expert Group for Aid Studies (EBA) and Sida organised a roundtable discussion on social protection systems in low- and middle-income countries with a focus on the role of development assistance, primarily in Africa. Participants included Sida, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, civil society organizations, the academia and EBA. Nyasha Tirivayi from UNICEF Innocenti, Miguel Niño-Zarazúa from SOAS, University of London, and Göran Holmqvist from Sida were invited to introduce three topics to start the discussion.

The topics were: 1) Evidence on social protection; 2) Political economy of social protection and; 3) Social protection in humanitarian settings and protracted crisis.

This brief summarizes the key questions and topics presented and discussed.