Reducing Vulnerability and Increasing Opportunity : Social Protection in the Middle East and North Africa
Despite social, and economic diversity within the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, social protection systems share common characteristics. This report develops a framework for a more integrated approach to social protection, and proposes general strategic lines of actions to guide the reform of social protection systems in the MENA region. It argues that, while during the 1970s and 1980s, economic growth rates outweighed growth rates in other regions, and social indicators improved dramatically, the model of development was not sustainable. It further, discusses key features, and major weaknesses of the social protection systems in the MENA countries, by defining an alternative framework for social protection. However, it also argues that traditional social protection schemes, cannot constitute the sole mechanism to protect vulnerable population groups, help the poor, or increase social welfare. Actions outside the traditional social protection system, suggest promoting prudent macroeconomic management, improving governance, rethinking regulatory institutions, and reforming education, and health systems. Concurrently, actions within the traditional social protection system, include improvements in the financial sustainability of social insurance systems, reforming training systems, and designing safety nets as developmental, and community-based, not just assistance, and centrally administered schemes.
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