The General Delegation for Social Protection and National Solidarity (DGPSN) of Senegal and the International Labour Organization (ILO) organized in Dakar a series of three high-level international webinars on November 19, 26, and December 3, 2020 on universal social protection and its financing. These high-level virtual meetings were widely attended by state institutions, social partners, civil society, technical and financial partners, researchers, academics, NGOs and development agencies, think tanks, associations and organisations supporting vulnerable population groups, and the press. They also saw the participation of international, state and non-state actors, including through the sharing of experiences of Cape Verde, Rwanda and Morocco.
Each of the 3 sessions was divided into 2 panels, to share and exchange international experiences on major issues related to the extension of social protection. The first session of these webinars bore on the main challenges for the extension of social protection to workers in the informal economy and presented the concrete solution formulated by Senegal through the Simplified Regime for Small Taxpayers (RSPC). It also included a sharing of the experience of Cape Verde which, despite being considered a developing country, has succeeded in implementing universal pension coverage for the elderly as part of its efforts towards income security.
The second session looked at the strategic and operational organisation underpinning the success of the Rwandan model, the changes and lessons learnt since the launch of the project and the financing mechanisms and contributory capacity that has been mobilised in the context of the implementation of universal health coverage (UHC). It also examined, based on the experience of Senegal, the possibilities for developing countries to reconcile development priorities with social protection requirements. In particular, discussions were held on the adequacy of fiscal space for social protection, the level of public spending on social protection that could lead to structural change, how countries with similar socio-economic profiles to Senegal could expand fiscal space and Senegal’s opportunities in this regard.
Finally, the third session provided an opportunity to discuss Morocco’s significant progress in the provision of unemployment insurance benefits and the coverage of self-employed workers through the introduction of the Indemnité perte d’emploi (IPE) scheme as first steps towards the establishment of an unemployment insurance scheme and the compulsory extension of social security to self-employed workers. The session also looked at a number of flagship non-contributory programmes launched by Senegal to promote income security for poor households and persons with disabilities. These include the National Family Security Scholarship Programme and the Equal Opportunity Card, which provides a package of benefits for people living with disabilities.