Friday, August 28, 2009

New Social Protection Partnership, Senegal and UNICEF

UNICEF and the government of Senegal are partnering together to deliver 3.800 FCfa or $8 US a month to the children of vulnerable families in the country. The monthly minimum wage in Senegal is around 40,000 FCfa or $87. Effective partnerships like the child social protection agreement between Senegal and UNICEF could serve as a model of how the government can overcome institutional constraints and ultimately win the fight against poverty.

According to an article in the national newspaper Le Soleil, the purpose of the program is to mitigate the adverse effects of high food prices in the short-term, reduce poverty in the medium-term, and prevent the inter-generational spread of poverty. The funds will be principally designed for children ages 0 to 5.

Despite having one of Africa's longest and most stable constitutional democracies, Senegal has been unable to effectively deliver social protections, or reduce widespread poverty and chronic unemployment--- an unemployment rate of 48% with 54% living below the poverty-line. The West African nation ranks a low 156 out of 177 according to the Human Development Index, a composite measure of general well-being among the population. The remaining roadblocks to translating economic growth into social equity are lack of financial resources or political will for industrial policies and social programs to reverse these trends. Partnerships between Senegal and intergovernmental agencies like UNICEF can be effective but only if they are implemented efficiently.

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