Social Protection in Africa

Social Protection in Africa

Frank Ellis, Stephen Devereux and Phillip White

The purpose of this book is to make accessible to a broad audience the ideas, principles and practicalities of establishing effective social protection in Africa. It focuses on the major shift in strategy for tackling hunger and vulnerability, from emergency responses mainly in the form of food transfers to predictable cash transfers to the chronically poorest social groups. The diverse case studies in this book provide a unique and timely exploration of the effective, and less effective, ways that social transfers are delivered to the chronically poor and vulnerable in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Chapter 11: Case Study 1. Old Age Pension,Lesotho

Frank Ellis, Stephen Devereux and Phillip White

Subjects: development studies, development studies, social policy and sociology, comparative social policy, economics of social policy, social policy in emerging countries

Extract

Case Study 1. Old Age Pension, Lesotho OVERVIEW In the April 2004 budget speech for the 2004/05 financial year, the Government of Lesotho announced the introduction of a universal noncontributory pension for all citizens aged 70 and over. The pension came into force six months later in November 2004, set at a level of M150 (US$25) per month, and was formally legislated as an entitlement in the Old Age Pensions Act passed in January 2005. In taking this step, Lesotho became one of only seven sub-Saharan African countries to provide noncontributory pensions, the other six being Botswana, Mauritius, Namibia, Senegal, South Africa and Swaziland. In this group, Senegal and Lesotho are much poorer countries than the others, having per capita GNIs of US$700 and US$950 respectively in 2005. The Old Age Pension (OAP) cost M126 million (US$21 million) in its first full fiscal year of operation, 2005–06. This corresponded to about 2.7 per cent of government expenditure. By May 2005, the pension was reaching 69 046 beneficiaries, or roughly 3.3 per cent of the total population. Owing to the lower life expectancy of men in Lesotho, as in most human populations, roughly 60 per cent of recipients are women and 40 per cent men. At the time of its introduction the pension amount was almost exactly equal to Lesotho’s official national poverty line, set at M146 (US$24) in 2002. On its return to power after the 2007 general election, the government announced...

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