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					              AFRICAN UNION                                         UNION AFRICAINE
                                                                    UNIÃO AFRICANA
           Addis Ababa, ETHIOPIA   P. O. Box 3243     Telephone 115517 700   Fax : 115517844

                                       CONCEPT NOTE


                        Theme:     Investing in Social Protection in Africa

     The AU Commission, in close collaboration with HelpAge International, is organizing
     three Regional Experts Group Meetings on Social Protection on the theme:” Investing
     in Social Protection in Africa” , to cover the five regions of the Continent, as follows:

            Eastern and Southern Regions:          Uganda      -      28-30 April, 2008
            Northern Region:                       Egypt       -      13 – 14 May, 2008
            Central and Western Regions:           Senegal     -      9-11 June, 2008

I.            Introduction

     The respect for basic human rights and promotion of the well-being of all citizens are
     among the principles enshrined in a number of regional and international instruments
     such as: the AU Constitutive Act, the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights;
     the OAU Charter; the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, the Convention on
     Economic and Social Rights as well as other Charters and Conventions . Moreover
     raising the standard of human life through social action such as changes which are
     conducive to ensuring social justice and equity as well as providing opportunity for
     people to develop their capacities are part of sustainable social development.
     However, progress to-date on promoting the rights and ensuring social actions for the
     empowerment and well being of the population, especially the vulnerable group, has
     been limited in the developing world. Similarly, the track record of development
     ‘projects’ and humanitarian relief in lifting significant numbers of people, in particular
     the marginalised and disadvantaged group, out of poverty over the longer term is
     poor. Amongst other factors, these have led to a renewed interest amongst both
     governments and donors in developing programmes that deliver social protection for
     the poorest. Examples of such mechanisms currently being considered or
     implemented include food security ‘safety nets’ (as opposed to intermittent relief);
     grants to families caring for orphans and vulnerable children (OVC); disability benefits;
     and social pensions.


     The meetings are being held within the framework of:

            the AU Policy Framework and Plan of Action on Ageing adopted in 2002;
            follow-up on the Livingstone and Yaounde Calls for Action on Social Protection;
            the Social Policy Framework which is being finalized by the AU Commission.

It will be recalled that:

       a)      The Livingstone Call for Action

In March 2006, the African Union (AU), in collaboration with its development partners and
the Government of the Republic of Zambia, organised an inter-Ministerial conference in
Livingstone, Zambia to discuss practical measures to enhance development support to
the needy and most vulnerable group. This included social protection schemes and
programmes as well as the benefits of cash transfer, among others. The conference
focused on the high level of poverty in Africa and the likelihood that the Millennium
Development Goals will not be reached unless development strategies incorporate direct
action to enhance social development and narrow the inequality gap.

The key outcome of the conference was the Livingstone Call for Action which stated that
social protection and social transfers have played and do play a key role in ‘reducing
poverty and promoting growth’ in African countries. It also acknowledged that they are
‘affordable within current resources’, and that they should be a ‘more utilized policy option
in Africa to reach the most vulnerable group including children, older people, persons with
disabilities and families’. Furthermore, the Call for Action asked Governments to develop
costed plans within 3 years and engage in capacity building and experience sharing to
support this work. It explicitly called for a bi-annual conference under the auspices of the
African Union (in 2008) to ensure that follow up dialogue takes place. There was also a
call for further exploration of linkages with national programmes on social protection as
well as clearer links between Africa-wide social development programmes and policies
adopted by the African Union Commission to that effect.

       b)      The Yaoundé Call for Action

In September, 2006, the Yaoundé Call for Action was adopted at an Africa-wide
Workshop hosted by the Government of Cameroon and supported by the African Union
and its partners. The Yaoundé Call for Action explicitly calls for Governments to
implement the Livingstone Call for Action and adopt comprehensive social protection
schemes for older people with particular emphasis on universal social pensions and
coordinate social protection measures being implemented with various Ministries through
a comprehensive national coordination framework.

       c)      Follow up Action

The African Union Commission, in collaboration with HelpAge International has been
working on a programme to follow up on the Livingstone and Yaoundé Calls for Action.
The programme aims to inform and build up African constituency on national social
protection programmes. In this regard, the African Union Commission has commissioned
a study on social protection in Africa. Furthermore, it is reviewing its Social Policy
Framework to incorporate in it the linkages with social protection.

The study as well as the Framework will be considered at the First AU Conference of
Ministers for Social Development scheduled for October 2008.

The outcome of the 3 Regional Experts Group Meetings to review the progress on social
protection action in Africa will also be presented to the Ministerial Conference in October
2008. It is expected that this process will help to develop an African Union led Africa-wide
social protection ‘network group’ and activities with core regional and international


The main objectives of the Regional Meetings are:

       a)     To be informed on effective national social protection programmes and policies
              in each region;
       b)     Exchange views and share good practices;
       c)     To provide African Governments an opportunity to reflect on choices and
              challenges to embed social protection programmes in national development
              programmes and budgets
       d)     To facilitate and reinforce inter-country learning and further develop capacity
              building, including continuous learning from state provided social protection
              programmes in various parts of Africa.;
       e)     to learn from longstanding social protection programmes as well as with pilot
       f)     To capitalize on the findings of a range of international agencies, governments
              and other stakeholders, including civil society, to identify their roles in further
              extending social security coverage.


       The outcome of the meetings will include:
           Increasing awareness on social protection choices, opportunities and
            constraints, and resource issues;
           Including social protection issues in the African Union Social Policy
           Articulating a clear demand for social protection by African Member
           Learning from good practices, experiences and pilot projects;
           Increasing greater recognition that in the long term social protection
            modalities will involve better use of current resources and deliver growth
           Assisting the African Union to lead the process and advocate for the
            inclusion of clear social protection recommendations in policy making and
            resource allocation;
           Creating a network on social protection with regional and international

Eventually, the meetings will come up with sets of recommendations which will be
presented to the First AU Conference of Ministers of Social Development to be held in
October 2008.


In preparation for the Regional Meetings, National Consultations have been
carried out in 6 Member States, namely, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Mozambique,
Rwanda, Sierra Leone, and Tunisia. The outcome of these National Consultations
will be presented to the Regional Meetings .


The National Consultations as well as the Regional Meetings will bring together
Representatives from the Governments, Civil Society Organisations, NGOs,
FBO’s, donors and bilateral Agencies.


        a)   Working Documents

The consolidated Report from the 6 National Consultations will constitute the
working document of the meetings. Moreover, Governments will be expected to
present their country reports on social protection to the meeting. These will focus
on the good practices, the challenges, the impact and the resources.

Other reports on good practices and success stories will also be presented during
the meeting.

        b) Reference Documents

The reference documents will include relevant AU policy documents as well as
other relevant UN and other Organisations’ documents and information from


HelpAge International in consultation with the African Union have mobilized funds
for the meetings from the donor community. HelpAge International will sponsor the
participations of two (2) Experts from Member States. In this regard please

             Ms Josephine Kure
             Helpage International
             Nairobi - Kenya
             Tel: (254)020 4444289/4446991/4449407
             Fax: 254-020-4441052