Click the star to add/remove an item to/from your individual schedule.
You need to be logged in to avail of this functionality.

Accepted Paper:

Protecting the Poorest or Political Survival? Zambia’s Social Protection Response to COVID-19  
Kate Pruce (Institute of Development Studies)

Paper short abstract:

This paper examines Zambia’s social protection response to COVID-19, arguing that it reflects the political dynamics of the country’s social protection trajectory more broadly. Government policy priorities are shaped by elite interests, with a particular focus on political survival strategies.

Paper long abstract:

Zambia’s social protection response to the COVID-19 pandemic is unfolding against a background of severe financial challenges, a squeezed social sector and limited state capacity. There are also concerns about the upcoming general election in August 2021, which is already beginning to shape policy and spending decisions. Much of Zambia’s policy response has focused on the formal sector, despite the country’s large informal sector, high unemployment rate and food insecurity across urban and rural areas. A COVID-19 emergency cash transfer (ECT) has been the most significant social protection intervention to help the poorest households to cope with the effects of the pandemic. Cash transfers have been extended to include the urban poor and some informal workers, but only temporarily. The ECT has been largely driven and funded by international donors, while the government has increased payments to agricultural subsidies and empowerment funds.

Based on 77 interviews with the key stakeholders from a range of institutional positions as well as documentary analysis, this paper argues that the dynamics of Zambia’s COVID-19 response reflect the politics of social protection more broadly. The prioritisation of powerful constituencies, particularly farmers and young people, as well as claims that the ruling party is using the ECT for election rigging suggest government support of social protection schemes is shaped by elite interests, particularly political survival. On the other hand, the COVID-19 emergency cash transfer is short term and largely donor-funded, with worrying implications for the many Zambians experiencing income vulnerabilities and food insecurity.

Panel P27a
The politics of expanding and sustaining social protection: continuities and ruptures in unsettled times I
  Session 1 Tuesday 29 June, 2021, -