Social and economic conditions in Africa are consistently outpaced by the rest of the world.

Social and economic conditions in Africa are consistently outpaced by the rest of the world. This problem persists in spite of the progress made in some countries because of stable macro-economic policy environments and slow but steady rates of economic growth. In Nigeria, persistent poverty, low life expectancy, high maternal and infant mortality, youth unemployment and dislocations attributable to the many violent crises rocking the nation, among many others, show the depth and scale of the social and economic challenges facing the nation. These are further exacerbated by the relatively small proportion of the budget expended on the social sectors by the Nigerian government compared to spending on other sectors and social spending in other countries.

Publicly provided social protection has increasingly being recognized as an important element for realizing socioeconomic progress in developing societies. Social protection has been implemented in many countries of sub-Saharan Africa as an effective policy programme to tackle and address the extreme deprivation and vulnerability. Since the late 1980s, policy attention has focused on social protection instruments to mitigate the impact of adjustment: the so-called social dimensions of adjustment issues. In recent years, the focus has turned to cash transfer (conditional and unconditional) as the policy instrument of choice for addressing poverty and vulnerability.

Social protection is concerned with meeting the basic needs of the poorest population segments and also with meeting the demand for income security against risks associated across the course of life. It refers to policies, programmes and actions for the poor and vulnerable which enhance their capacity to cope with poverty and equip them to better manage risks and shocks. Social protection thus deals with both the absolute deprivation and vulnerabilities of the poorest, and also with the need of the currently non-poor for security in the face of shocks and life-cycle events. The ‘public’ character of this response may be governmental or non-governmental or may involve a combination of institutions from both sectors.

Well-designed and implemented social protection systems can powerfully shape countries, enhance human capital and productivity, eradicate poverty, reduce inequalities and contribute to building social peace. They are an essential part of national development strategies to achieve inclusive growth and sustainable development with equitable social outcomes. Social protection systems can be the foundation for sustained social and economic development – for individuals, communities, societies and nations.

Hence the appropriateness of social protection programmes becomes sui generis. There is the need for more active social protection systems that contribute to asset redistribution and measures to address the structural basis of poverty and social exclusion in the country. However, the extent to which Nigerian government can offer long term support for social protection is determined not only by the fiscal space, but also support from the political institutions and administrative capacity.


If we ensure social protection in Nigeria, the benefts are several, including:

  • It prevents and reduces poverty, promotes social inclusion and dignity of vulnerable populations;
  • It contributes to economic growth: raising incomes increases consumption, savings and, investment at the household level, and raises domestic demand at the macro level;
  • It promotes human development: cash transfers facilitate access to nutrition and education, thus resulting in better health outcomes, higher school enrolment rates, reduced school drop-out rates, and a decline in child labour;
  • It increases productivity and employability by enhancing human capital and productive assets;
  • It protects individuals and families against the losses due to shocks, whether they be pandemics, natural disasters, or economic downturns;
  • It builds political stability and social peace, reducing inequalities, social tensions and violent conflict; social protection ensures greater social cohesion and participation;
  • It is a human right that everyone, as a member of society, should enjoy, including children, mothers, persons with disabilities, workers, older persons, migrants, indigenous peoples and minorities.

Center's Objectives

The objectives of the institute (centre) include but are not limited to the following:

  • Mainstreaming of social protection in development policy;
  • Promoting and fostering the knowledge and practice of social protection, social protection systems and instruments;
  • Training of development practitioners and public policy officers to enable them excel and;
  • Aligning and linking with the global network of scholars, experts and practitioners

Focus Areas

The Centre is a multidisciplinary (centre) institute comprising the following disciplines: 

  • Economics 
  • Insurance
  • Labour and Employment Relations 
  • Law
  • Mass Communication
  • Political Science
  • Social Work and Sociology
  • Public Health
  • History and International Studies

Department of Economics, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Lagos, Akoka, Lagos, Nigeria.
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