Building the "public good" in Guinea-Bissau and Angola through social protection programs
Clara Carvalho (ISCTE - University Institute of Lisbon)
Jorge Varanda (CRIA/University of Coimbra)
Paper short abstract:
This communication questions the main policies and programs of social protection comparing two opposed case-studies, Guinea-Bissau, sometimes described as a "fragile state", and Angola, a regional power, comparing access to healthcare, the CSO provision, state services and informal support.
Paper long abstract:
Social Protection (SP) is generally understood as public actions designed to address risks and levels of vulnerability and deprivation regarded as unacceptable (Conway et all, 2000). It tackles basic rights such as employment, education, housing, healthcare, as well as social services for the most dispossessed. In developing countries, anti-poverty transfer programs have been at the core of poverty-reduction policies in the past decade and represent a growing tendency. These programs, which are generally defined as social assistance, assure direct transfers in kind or in cash to individuals or households living in situations of extreme poverty. Even if the literature agrees with the idea that social protection, to be effective, must be led by local governments, cash-transfer programs are more common in middle income countries (MIC), while low income countries (LIC) tend to rely on poverty reduction programs and are more dependent on external agencies, funding contingencies and projects instead of middle term programs. Direct cash transfers are viewed as a more stable, efficient and agency leverage program by development experts, who have insisted in defending their sustainability. In this communication we address the main policies and programs of social protection comparing two opposed case-studies, Guinea-Bissau, a low-income country sometimes described as a "fragile state", and Angola, a middle-income country aiming at becoming a regional power. We compare access to healthcare in both countries, considering the CSO provision (Carvalho 2013), state services (Varanda 2014) and informal support (Afonso & Carvalho 2013), questioning the notion of "social protection" and state responsibility.
Welfare, redistribution and new forms of the "public good" [Sponsored by AFRICA: Journal of the International African Institute]