Social Protection after the Arab Spring

Organization(s): International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth
Author: Abdel-Rahmen El Lahga, Alexis Lefèvre, Amina Said Alsayyad, Anna Carolina Machado, Arthur van Diesen, Atif Khurshid, Charlotte Bilo, Fabio Veras Soares, Flavia Lorenzon, Gabrielle Smith, Gisela Nauk, Kishan Khoday, Mahdi Halmi, Mario Gyori, Markus Loewe, Oscar Ekdahl, Rafael Guerreiro Osorio, Rana Jawad, Sarah Shahyar, Stephen Devereux, Verena Damerau
Regions: Middle East and North Africa
Year: 2017
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When countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) achieved independence, formal social protection schemes established by former colonial powers were, to varying degrees, assimilated or mimicked by the State, particularly pension systems for government and formal-sector workers. These systems, however, have proven to be highly subsidized and regressive in terms of income distribution in the face of large segments of the population engaged in the informal sector (or rural work), who have remained excluded from formal social protection unless eligible for some social assistance programmes, mostly with lower coverage and benefits. In fact, a significant share of the social expenditure with a social protection function in most of these countries was assigned to universal or quasi-universal subsidies of fuel and staple foods.

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Related Principles

Universality of Protection

States parties to major human rights instruments related to economic, social and cultural rights such as the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) have an immediate minimum core obligation to ensure the satisfaction of, at the very least, minimum essential levels of all economic, social and cultural rights such as the right […]

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