In a conclave from the 23rd to the 24th of May 2022 in Kinshasa, the Social Security Institutions of Central Africa formulated a set of recommendations aimed at engaging in the process of extending social coverage.
The ISSA Liaison Office for Central Africa (BLAISAC) has, in accordance with its terms of reference, resumed its face-to-face activities after two years of interruption due to restrictions following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Held in the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, within the framework of the 2020-2022 triennium, the 2nd technical seminar of the International Social Security Association (ISSA) for the sub-region had as its theme: “Extending social security coverage to populations not yet covered in Central Africa”.
Several Social Security Institutions from Central African countries that are members of BLAISAC participated, such as the National Social Insurance Fund of Cameroon, represented by Brenda Malemba Formanji, Chief of the Social Insurance Centre for the Informal Sector in Douala; Annie-Bella Minkoulou epse Mbele, Research Officer at the Technical Directorate and Jean Faustin Betayene, Deputy Chief of the Cooperation Unit.
The participants discussed the problems related to the aforementioned theme. From the feedback gathered from the Social Security Funds on the reference theme, it seems imperative to fully engage in the extension process, especially since 80% of the active population work in the informal sector. It is therefore necessary to find ways of making the policies in place attractive, as the target population does not find the present ones interesting.
Workers in the informal sector also need short-term benefits such as family allowances, coverage of occupational diseases and accidents, and even health coverage. In order to provide a solution to these legitimate concerns of the target population, the NSIF of Cameroon signed a partnership agreement with Atlantique Assurances Cameroun IARDT in 2021, which aims at facilitating access to quality health care for voluntarily insured persons, in addition to the pension benefits to which they are entitled.
At the end of this seminar, a number of resolutions were taken with regards to the importance of the extension of social coverage, such as the need for a clearly expressed political will to integrate the issue of extending social coverage to groups that are difficult to cover into the design of social policies; financing through taxes and other levies to strengthen strategies and policies aimed at extending social coverage; as well as the implementation of innovative strategies for identifying populations not yet covered.