In Ethiopia, the SP&PFM project aims to support and strengthen the country’s social protection system through sustainable financing. Activities include informing policymakers on the vulnerability of households affected by COVID-19, understanding the public finance landscape and providing financing options for social protection in the short and medium-term.

The project is committed to enhancing the coordination and monitoring capacity of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (MoLSA) for non-contributory and contributory social protection schemes. The project also supports and facilitates stakeholders’ dialogue and will enhance appropriate governance structures and institutional capacity towards a more integrated and efficient social protection system in the country.

Activities are focused on three key areas:

  • Producing a financing strategy for social protection in Ethiopia with short-term and medium-term options;
  • Assessing the means to extend social security to informal economy workers and supporting wage legislation related to social protection;
  • Building the capacity of MoLSA to effectively monitor the social protection system.

Key results achieved in 2020-22

The project has achieved a number of results related to the three planned outputs to strengthen the synergy between public finance management and social protection in Ethiopia.

1. Developing financing strategy for social protection:

  • A vulnerability assessment on COVID-19 in Ethiopia and a socio-economic impact analysis of COVID-19 in Ethiopia was conducted in 2020. The studies identified the most vulnerable groups affected by the pandemic and looked at the implications of the socio-economic shocks stemming from the crisis and provided recommendations for addressing its consequences in terms of policy options for decision-makers as well as practical actions by government and development partners. 
  • The social protection policy eligibility assessment of Ethiopia was conducted in 2020. The assessment analyzed the policy framework, coherence with development policies, relevance and credibility from the perspective of social protection implementation and public finance management (PFM). 
  • The project has produced final reports on the actuarial valuation of the Civil Service Pension Fund (CSPF) and Private Organizations’ Employees’ Pension Fund (POEPF) in 2021. The reports are intended to inform reform options on the financial sustainability of the schemes and provide improvement in the governance of the pension schemes.
  • The development of financing strategy for social protection in Ethiopia was initiated in 2021. An inception report along with early stage draft reports on a spending review of social protection in Ethiopia and an investment case for social protection were developed. These reports are part of the inter-related outputs that are required to inform a cogent financing strategy for social protection and support the sustainability of financing for social protection both in the short and medium term.

2. Extending social security to informal economy workers and supporting wage legislation related to social protection:

  • The Project conducted a technical study on the extension of social protection to informal economy workers to provide policy recommendations on extending coverage and pursuing actions on formalization.
  • The project supported the development of a Position Paper by the Confederation of Ethiopian Trade Unions (CETU) on “Improving Social Protection Compliance” of formal private sector enterprises that are members of CETU.
  • The Project provided support to the Federation of Ethiopian Associations of Persons with Disabilities (FEAPD) in July 2021 on promotion of disability inclusion in the Ethiopian Social Protection System through awareness building amongst government and media organisations on advocating for the review of the national social protection policy and strategy to be more disability inclusive. A Working Group has been established to continue advocating for disability inclusion under the auspices of FEAPD.

3. Building the capacity of MoLSA to effectively monitor the social protection system:

  • The project continues to support the Federal Social Protection Platform (FSPP) that was established and launched in October 2020 to maintain momentum and build greater coordination for the social protection sector. The platform served as a key coordination mechanism for social protection bringing together key stakeholders from government, development partners and Civil Service Organizations (CSOs) working on social protection.
  • The project provided technical assistance to MoLSA to coordinate and manage a mobile based monitoring application to track COVID-19 top-up cash transfers for the Urban Productive Safety Net Programme (UPSNP) clients in 2020. This has contributed to improving the capacity of MoLSA to standardize the management and implementation of the Permanent Direct Support (PDS) component of both the Rural Productive Safety Net Programme (RPSNP) and the UPSNP. 
  • The social protection mapping report and the social protection data collected through the Social Security Inquiry (SSI) in 2020 were formally submitted to MoLSA for application as a social protection monitoring tool for reporting on SDG 1.3. The Project aims to train monitoring officers of MoLSA and other social protection institutions to apply the SSI for periodic data compilation and thereby enabling timely reporting on SDG 1.3.
  • The project also supported MoLSA to develop a website that aggregates all social protection sector information and data. This is the first time Ethiopia will have an online platform to house information on social protection in the country. This tool will strengthen MoLSA’s social protection coordination mandate by consolidating data on social protection coverage, performance of social protection programmes, and information on financing of social protection into one platform.
  • The Project supported the organization of the annual Labour and Social Protection forum of MoLSA which was critical in guiding and setting the tone on the ministry’s mandate in responding to the government’s overall agenda on social protection and labour affairs. ILO’s tripartite partners plus regional bureaus participated in the annual conference to appraise the sector’s achievements of 2021 and agree on key deliverables for 2022.
  • To generate a longer-term and sustainable capacity building support, the project provided financial and technical support for MoLSA through comprehensive institutional capacity development by closely engaging with MoLSA.



Project partners

The initiative is implemented jointly by the ILO and UNICEF, in close collaboration with the EU Delegation in Ethiopia. The project has established a Reference Group to advise on strategic directions and the overall scope of the project as well as to review its implementation. The group includes the following members: United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), International Labour Organization (ILO), Delegation of the European Union to Ethiopia (EU), Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (MoLSA), Ministry of Finance (MoF), Planning and Development Commission (PDC), Ministry of Agriculture (MoA), Urban Food Security and Job Creation Agency (UFSJCA), Public Servants’ Social Security Agency (PSSSA), Private Organisations’ Employees Social Security Agency (POESSA), Confederation of Ethiopian Trade Unions (CETU), Ethiopian Employers’ Confederation (EEC), World Bank (WB), Addis Ababa University (AAU), HelpAge International Ethiopia on behalf of the Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors (GCSPF), Federation of Ethiopian Associations of Persons with Disabilities (FEAPD) and one representative from the Donor Coordination Team (DCT), Rural Productive Safety Net Programme.


Mr. Fantahun Melles, ILO National Project Coordinator,

Ms. Mwenya Kapasa, ILO Technical Officer, Social Protection ,

Mr. Samson Muradzikwa, UNICEF Chief Social Policy,

Ms. Zeleka Paulos, UNICEF Social Policy Specialist,

Ms. Fanaye Tadesse, UNICEF Social Policy Specialist,

Children, Ethiopia, 2018.

Fifth Ethiopian Federal Social Protection Platform meeting (September 2022)

Training workshop for Strengthening the Role of Media in Promoting Inclusive Social Protection (22-23 September 2022).

Training workshop for Strengthening the Role of Media in Promoting Inclusive Social Protection (22-23 September 2022).

Socio-economic Impact Analysis of COVID-19 in Ethiopia (2020)

Project brochure, 2020.