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Senegal: Poverty Reduction, Social Protection & Labour

Public resources were allocated in 2011 in line with the aims of the government’s development strategy.  With this in mind 49% of investment credits were allocated to basic support infrastructure and to regional development, 29% to the basic social sectors and 19% to modernising the farm sector and developing the rural sector. Nevertheless, the World Bank’s global review of public spending in June 2011 found that most spending on health went to the richest regions (Dakar and Saint-Louis), while the poorest regions received far less (Louga, Tambacounda, Ziguinchor). Public health spending is regressive at all levels of care. In addition, the level of public financing is low for the achievement of the health MDGs and in the light of the target of 12% of GDP.

The review found that the education sector’s share of public spending had been on average 23.8% in the years 2007 to 2009, excluding debt service and capital spending on external resources. Nevertheless the review of public spending on the education sector in 2010 also revealed inequality in the division of resources between regions, with the Dakar region the most favourably treated. In the regions of Kolda, Louga and Tambacounda, schools not offering a full curriculum represent respectively 71.2%, 77.8% et 85.3% of the total number of primary schools, compared with 13.5% in the Dakar region.

In the area of social protection experiments with new social safety-net programmes made it possible to increase the number of  vulnerable households benefiting from allowances to 1 080 in 2010, but short of the target of 1 500 initally set. But these  do not take into account the cash transfer programmes launched in 2010 with the backing of the World Food Programme (WFP) which concern 9 200 of the 10 000 vulnerable households targeted in the Dakar area. In the same way the child-targeted nutrition and social transfers  programme (NETS) operated by a unit dedicated to the fight against malnutrition helped 21 986 mothers out of  the 23 238 aimed for. Other programmes offered a grant to 5 218 orphans and children from deprived backgrounds at risk because of AIDS.

These programmes have mitigated the acknowledged inadequacies of the official social protection system, which is limited to wage earners in the modern (i.e. non-traditional) sector and therefore to fewer than 20% of the population. Only 16.6% of the population aged over 65 receive a retirement pension. The Sesame plan is aimed at this group as a complement but can run into viability problems. More generally, fewer than 20% of the population are covered by health insurance. That is the reason for community initiatives to encourage health-care co-operatives. Only 13.3% of children aged under 15 receive family allowances, a shortcoming that school canteens help to remedy.

The implementation of the national social protection strategy in 2011-15 requires the strengthening and reform of the social security system, the widening of social protection coverage, and prevention and management of risks and disasters. In support, the new employment policy, particularly for the young, provides for measures to improve the functioning of the labour market through the introduction of rules that are intended to make the 1997 employment code fully operational in both the letter and spirit of the reforms.

More Info: African Economic Outlook