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Youth and employment concepts are not new to development discourse in sub-Saharan Africa but over the last decade interest has increased dramatically, becoming a much more important focus for policy, intervention and research throughout the continent (and globally).
This IDS Bulletin reflects challenges in Africa and demonstrates how political context shapes youth-related policy.The articles in the Bulletin consider the evidence on youth employment policy and interventions, the politics of youth policy, the changing nature of young people’s work, and the promotion of entrepreneurship. They are authored by the ten members of the first cohort of the Matasa Fellows Network (a joint initiative by the MasterCard Foundation and IDS), which has a particular focus on the youth employment challenge in Africa.
Social protection has emerged as a key driver of development policy at the beginning of the twenty-first century. It is widely considered a ‘good thing’ that has the potential not only to alleviate poverty and vulnerability, but also to generate more transformative outcomes in terms of empowerment and social justice.
Based on an ethnographic study of the implementation of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), India's flagship social protection policy, this paper takes a critical look at what this policy's ‘success’ consists of. The study was carried out in Tamil Nadu, a state widely presented as a ‘success’ in terms of MGNREGA's implementation, and describes who participates in the scheme and how success is understood and expressed at different social and bureaucratic levels.
In terms of MGNREGA's outcomes, it concludes that the scheme is benefitting the poorest households – and Dalits and women in particular – especially in terms of providing a safety net and as a tool for poverty alleviation. But the scheme does more than that. It has also produced significant transformative outcomes for rural labourers, such as pushing up rural wage levels, enhancing low-caste workers' bargaining power in the labour market and reducing their dependency on high-caste employers. These benefits are not only substantial but also transformative in that they affect rural relations of production and contribute to the empowerment of the rural labouring poor. However, in terms of creating durable assets and promoting grassroots democracy, the scheme's outcomes are much less encouraging.
Despite economic growth, persistent levels of absolute poverty remain across the world. Social protection is an important response to this, guaranteeing a basic level of income support. The state of Chhattisgarh, India, provides an interesting model, as government commitment and people’s action combine to buttress food security in communities with historically high levels of disadvantage. New research on wellbeing and poverty in Chhattisgarh provides an innovative perspective on these issues. Qualitative and quantitative evidence show more secure livelihoods have a broader effect on people’s confidence and experience of quaIity in life. Strong traditions of collective identity and community mobilisation constitute important resources for the achievement of rights in practice. Persistent gender inequalities remain, however, in both objective achievements and people’s subjective assessments of what they can do or be.
This article starts with the recognition that labour has received less than its fair share of empirical and analytical attention in scholarship on global production networks. Little is known about how jobs for export markets fit into workers’ wider livelihoods strategies, or how workers react to new employment opportunities available to them. Based on evidence from the Tiruppur garment cluster in Tamil Nadu, South India, the article takes labourers, their livelihoods and their social reproduction as its starting point. It reviews relevant labour geography and GPN literature, and suggests that labour agency has been almost solely conceptualised in terms of collective forms of organised worker resistance.
The article then draws on material from South India to examine how people enter garment work as well as the multiple and everyday forms of agency they engage in. We follow a ‘horizontal’ approach that accounts for gender, age, caste and regional connections in the making and constraining of agency. Such an approach reveals how labour agency is not merely fashioned by vertically linked production networks but as much by social relations and livelihood strategies that are themselves embedded in a wider regional economy and cultural environment. The article argues that labour’s multiple and everyday forms of agency not only help to shape local developments of global capitalism but also to produce transformative effects on workers’ livelihoods, social relations and reproductive capacities.
How does growing older affect a person’s income security in Asia? This question is becoming increasingly urgent in the context of rapid population ageing in the region, yet relatively limited comparative analysis has tried to answer it. This report aims to fill the gap by providing a comparative investigation of the income security of older people in five Asian countries that have diverse contexts; namely, Bangladesh, Nepal, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.
The report paints a picture of the multiple sources of income that contribute to income security in old age and how they interact. This has been done by mining existing survey data in each country to explore three key sources of income for older people: work, transfers from family and social protection. This marks a departure from most previous analysis of old age income security which has focused on age-disaggregated poverty data – which can only provide a relatively superficial picture of the issue. As well as providing new insights, this study highlights many weaknesses of existing data on ageing and points out opportunities for improvements in data collection and analysis.
The rise of the social protection agenda in Zambia over the past few years seems in some ways to fit with mainstream accounts of how welfare states are likely to emergein developing countries, particularly in terms of the links to elections and pro-poor political parties. However, here the authors demonstrate that this (still incipient) policy shift flows more directly from two alternative sources, namely shifting dynamics within Zambia’s political settlement and the promotional efforts of a transnational policy coalition.
Conditional cash transfer (CCT) programmes have been evaluated extensively and show by and large an increase of consumption amongst beneficiaries resulting in sometimes substantial reductions in poverty. Nonetheless important questions remain outstanding.
Is Kenya on track to follow an electrification strategy that is green and pro-poor? What are the main challenges to following this path? The two questions guiding this study are particularly relevant in a country with exceptional renewable energy resources, but where 80 per cent of the population lacks access to electricity and 50 per cent lives in poverty.
This study looks at four particular issues relating to access to green electricity for the poor: accessibility; commercial viability for project developers; financial sustainability for the State; and affordability. We will focus on grid electricity and mini-grids. For grid-connected generation, once electricity is fed to the grid, the issues of accessibility and affordability for the poor depend on national policies determining who gets electricity and at what price, making it impossible to differentiate between green and non-green electricity.
However, our study will show whether or not on-grid renewable generation can be financially sustainable in Kenya while providing affordable fees. For off-grid electricity, targeting the poor is a matter of situating generation capacity in the right places and affordability is a matter of setting prices that allow for cost recovery without being excessively expensive for the poor.
This report can support decision-making for development and climate finance institutions, as well as private investors in Kenya seeking a pro-poor green electrification strategy. It shows how to target the poor, which electrification alternatives to use, at what price, whether or not this is commercially viable and which policies would be required to make it so.
Numerous studies have explored urban growth and the emergence of the megapolitan phenomenon through increasing growth in the number of cities with over 10 million inhabitants. Similarly, the processes of climate change are also the subject of study from various perspectives as part of more operational approaches or research. Rather, the objective here is to highlight the impacts of those global changes (urban growth and climate) on megacities, their resources, and their water and sanitation services. What emerges is a singular vulnerability: megacities concentrate populations, services and goods. This amplifies the consequences of water-related risks (e.g. largescale floods, lack of resources, environmental pollution and other challenges).
This overview of 15 emblematic cities calls for general mobilisation to devise the sustainable urban policies the world needs. All these urban centres share a number of common characteristics: expansive size, disparities between rich and poor districts, environmental and industrial demand that strains the natural resources of an entire region – not to mention the economic weight of the country as a whole – and a wide range of cultural, scientific and educational resources.
Southern Africa is experiencing the world’s highest HIV prevalence rates alongside recurrent food crises. This has prompted scholars to hypothesise a 'New Variant Famine' in which inability to access food is driven by the effects of AIDS. In line with this, it has been suggested that the impacts of AIDS on young people today is likely to diminish their prospects of food security in adult life. In particular, children whose parents die of AIDS may fail to inherit land or other productive assets, and transmission of knowledge and skills between the generations may be disrupted, leaving young people ill-prepared to build food-secure livelihoods for themselves. However, prior to this research, those propositions were largely untested.
The ‘Averting New Variant Famine’ research project was therefore undertaken to generate new, in-depth understanding of how AIDS, in interaction with other factors, is impacting on the livelihood activities, opportunities and choices of young people in rural southern Africa.
The research was conducted in two villages in Malawi and Lesotho, two of the worst affected countries. The fieldwork comprised four elements:
There are a number of policy recommendations arising from the research:
The impact of climate change disasters poses significant challenges for South Africa especially for vulnerable rural households. In South Africa there is dearth of knowledge of the impacts of climate change at the local level, especially in rural areas. Rural households are generally poor and lack resources to adapt and mitigate the impacts of climate change associated disasters. The extent of vulnerability of rural households to climate change related disasters is largely not understood. A thorough and systematic examination of household vulnerability to climate change in rural areas is necessary and urgent. To minimise the impacts of climate change, there are several alternative adaptation strategies. The adaptation strategies require scientific scrutiny to establish which strategies are more cost effective and with the greatest positive impact on people’s livelihoods.
The purpose of this project was to assess the micro level impacts of climate change, evaluate household vulnerability and evaluate alternative rural adaptation strategies. To evaluate the impact of climate change the DSSAT models were used to simulate the impacts of climate change scenarios on maize yields. On household vulnerability, the household vulnerability index (HVI) tools was used to identify vulnerable households, so as to provide the basis for strategic interventions as well as recommending a potential suite of fiscal and economic measures to be used to improve the resilience of communities to climate change. The cost benefits analysis was the main technique used to evaluate alternative adaptation strategies. The study focused on the Eastern Cape and Limpopo provinces: provinces that have been singled out as the most vulnerable to disasters.
The cost benefit results suggest households need to move towards the use of drought resistant crop varieties and conservation farming. Priority should be given to drought resistant varieties, small grains, and zero tillage farming systems both in Limpopo and Eastern Cape. Practicing climate smart agriculture should be prioritised.
The following recommendations are proposed:
Over the last few decades, Latin American countries have experienced a boom in social protection policies. This increase has been fuelled by the expansion of fiscal space as the result of steady economic growth. While many of these countries had already had some type of social security system in place, most still lacked effective policies to reduce poverty and few had public programmes offering social assistance.
Cash transfer programmes rapidly emerged in countries all over the continent, followed by other social assistance programmes focusing on vulnerable individuals and families. The design of policies or systems varies according to the context and capacity of each country. Even within a country, there is great heterogeneity in the quality of services offered. This process has rapidly shown interested countries that even when the implementation of public policies is strongly inspired by a model existing in another country, their experience will always be unique.
Africans are interested in learning more about the successful experiences of countries, such as that of Brazil, which serve as a reference and guide for developing their own pathways to social protection solutions.
The partnership between the Government of Brazil and the Government of Senegal, the African Union Commission, UNDP World Centre for Sustainable Development (RIO+ Centre), UNDP Regional Service Centre for Africa and the Lula Institute provided the opportunity for a high-level debate at the International Seminar
on Social Protection in Dakar. In addition to Brazil and Senegal, there were representatives from Cape Verde, Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Niger, Zambia and Zimbabwe at the event.
This publication registers the inputs and results of the International Seminar in Dakar. It reveals a theoretical alignment regarding the social agenda that is necessary to both African countries and Brazil, especially in regards to social protection.
International organizations have played a crucial role in this process by supporting the diffusion and transfer of social protection policies. However, the role of South-South Cooperation partners cannot be underestimated. Brazil’s development trajectory in the last decade has drawn the world’s attention to the country’s social protection and food and nutritional security policies.
This paper aims to analyse how can trilateral cooperation (TrC) initiatives sharing Brazilian experiences in social protection contribute to the 2030 agenda. In the last decade, social protection has gained the spotlight in development cooperation. The boundaries of social protection has expanded from a narrow understanding of safety nets to potentially encompassing a broader set of policies aimed at increasing social justice and as a redistributive measure that reaffirms the social contract of the state with its citizens. Countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America have introduced regular cash transfers and other programmes to assist poor and vulnerable citizens, with positive impacts on a range of well-being indicators for millions of people.
Land rental markets can potentially improve the access to land for land-poor households that possess complementary resources that can enable them to utilize land efficiently. Land rental markets can also enable landowners who are poor in non-land resources to rent out their land such that their land is utilized more efficiently and they themselves can get a better income and improved welfare from their land resource. This report assesses the land rental market that is dominated by a reverse tenancy system with relatively poorer landlords and less poor tenants. This market has largely developed informally in Ethiopia but has also been shaped by the changing land policies. We assess how pro-poor it is and whether interventions potentially can make it even more pro-poor and welfare enhancing or whether a “hands off” policy is preferable. If we can detect a significant market failure, there is room for intervention. However, there are also a number of current interventions in the market. We assess whether these achieve the intended outcomes or rather should be lifted or modified.
Population growth, economic growth, and structural transformation in agriculture may change the role of land from being the most important safety net and livelihood opportunity to become an important resource for agricultural transformation and development. The non-farm sector in Ethiopia has grown rapidly in recent years and provides new employment opportunities and this reduces the pressure on land as the only and main source of livelihood.
Our study of land rental markets in Ethiopia covers communities in Tigray, Oromia and SNNP regions focuses particularly on the period 2006 to 2012, but draws on data and research that goes back to 1998 in Tigray and utilizes information from landlords and tenants and other rural households with male and female representatives, local Land Administrative Committee (LAC) members and local conflict mediators with long experience in handling local land disputes.
In this report, we review the relevant literature and fill important gaps in this literature. These gaps include a) the stated reasons of landlords and tenants for partner choice and contract choice in the land rental market and their attitudes and preferences regarding regulation and formalization of land rental contracts; b) we investigate land access of youth in the land rental market; c) we assesses how joint certification of husbands and wives has affected participation in the land rental market; and d) how increasing population pressure and land scarcity affects land access and the land rental market over time.
A significant percentage of youth in urban Africa is employed in the informal sector. The informal sector is more accessible than the formal sector for people with low human andfinancial capital, such as youth migrants from rural areas. But the sector is also generally considered to provide a subsistence livelihood. This study examines whether street based selfemployment in Africa offer a stepping stone towards a better livelihood or an urban poverty trap for youth migrants. The analysis is based on data from a survey of 445 street vendors in two urban areas in Ethiopia. We found that street based self-employment is indeed dominated by migrant youth; 96% of those engaged in the street based self-employment are youth and 98% are migrants from rural areas or smaller towns. Our analysis suggests that street based selfemployment can offer a viable transitional employment for migrant youth. We found that the average monthly earning of these self-employed youth is better than the minimum wage in the public sector and much higher than the official poverty line. We found that most of the youth consider this as a transitional employment and accumulate skill and capital with a view to establishing their own enterprise or accessing skilled employment. Young women are less likely than young men to seek exit out of street based self-employment but education increases their aspiration. Youth with better-off parents back home and those with larger network in their new residence are more likely to change their current occupation. The main risk for the livelihood of youth in this type of employment is lack of legal recognition to their activities and work place, which manifest itself in the form of arbitrary eviction and displacement from their work place.
A two year qualitative investigation of the nature and consequences of shame associated with poverty was conducted in seven settings located in rural Uganda and India; urban China, Pakistan, Korea and United Kingdom; and small town and urban Norway. The research presented results consistent with the thesis that the shame is always associated with poverty and that this may reduce personal efficacy and contribute to the duration and prevalence of poverty, a process that may be aggravated by policies that stigmatise recipients of social protection.
The research explores the contention that shame is a universal attribute of poverty which is common to people experiencing poverty in all societies. It investigates whether shame has internal and external components such that people are shamed because they are poor and feel shame due to being poor - and that both reduce individual agency and increase social exclusion.
The research initially seeks within different cultural settings to:
Because personal experiences and public understanding of poverty are shaped by cultural expectations and resource constraints, the research will:
Children throughout Sub-Saharan Africa are extraordinarily mobile. Every day children travel to school, to markets, to fetch water and firewood, to work on farms and take farm produce to grinding mills, as well as to visit friends and family and to play. However, children’s mobility is relatively invisible: most journeys that children undertake cover short distances and the vast majority are on foot. As such, very little research has been conducted into the extent of children’s mobility and impacts on education, livelihoods, health and well-being.
In this special issue of Society, Biology and Human Affairs, a group of Ghanian scholars co-ordinated by guest editors Drs Gina Porter and Kate Hampshire, present the results of various aspects of a larger project on ‘Children, Transport and Mobility in Sub-Saharan Africa’, by presenting a series of papers on children’s mobility in Ghana.
Research used an innovative child-centred approach, in which 70 children (aged 11-19 when they started the project) received training and supervision to conduct research on mobility issues among their peers in their home communities.
Article titles include:
While the papers underline how mobile children in Ghana are, both on a daily basis and undertaking longer-term movements, another key issue to emerge from the study was the limitations and constraints that children face in terms of mobility. Getting to schools, health centres, markets, and other places that they need or want to go, is often very difficult. The difficulties can be particularly acute for those living in remote rural areas, but even children living in urban and peri-urban settlements often struggle to travel around their communities easily and safely. Large distances, high costs of public transport, infrequent transport services to rural areas, and dangers experienced while traveling (such as the risks of traffic accidents, or encountering hazards along the way) mean that daily journeys to school, for example, could become a major ordeal, and even unfeasible for some children.
This project focused on the mobility constraints faced by children in accessing health, educational and other facilities in sub-Saharan Africa, lack of direct information on how these constraints impact on children's current and future livelihood opportunities, and lack of guidelines on how to tackle them. The aim was to produce an evidence-base strong enough to substantially improve policy in the three focus countries - Ghana, Malawi and South Africa - and to change thinking across Africa.
The project successfully tested and implemented an innovative two-strand, childcentred methodology, involving both academic researchers and 70 young researchers. Research was conducted in 8 sites per country (remote rural, rural with services, periurban and urban sites in two agro-ecological zones): 24 sites in total. The qualitative data covers the themes education, health, activities and transport, based on focus groups and individual interviews with children, parents and other key informants. The survey questionnaire covers a wide range of issues with 2,967 children c. 9-18 years, allowing comparisons across sites and countries. This large dataset enables a more nuanced understanding than has hitherto been available of the way mobility and transport constraints interact with other factors to shape particular young lives in particular places. Findings cover topics from pain and negative impacts on education associated with load carrying and other work, to the virtual mobility impacts of mobile phones and the complex interconnections between mobility, gender, work and education. The findings are sufficiently substantial to allow the development of clear guidelines for policy-makers and practitioners.
Urbanisation can bring many benefits the rate of change but in many developing countries the rate of change has been so fast and so dramatic that many cities have been unable to cope. Rapid, unplanned urbanisation has led to widespread social inequity and stratification, the rapid growth of informal settlements and slums, environmental degradation, heavy migrant inflows, and breakdown of the social support systems and networks.
It is not surprising, therefore, that there is a strong and well established link between child malnutrition and various dimensions of disadvantage in the urban setting. Child undernutrition has become an endemic problem in many poor urban areas of developing countries, jeopardizing the physical and mental development of growing children.
At the same time, social conditions and globalisation create the emerging risk of child overweight and obesity due to consumption of inappropriate foods, promoted as a part of the processes of globalization of food production systems, and lack of physical activity linked to changes in occupational and leisure activities. Many cities in the developing world are therefore facing a double burden of child under-nutrition and obesity and municipal governments are uniquely positioned to play a leading role in addressing these problems.
The primary aim of this structured literature review is to synthesize what is known about the effectiveness of interventions to reduce child malnutrition through changing the social determinants in poor urban areas of developing countries. The review focuses on child malnutrition because studies have shown that the early childhood years are the most critical. The importance of nutrition intervention throughout the lifecycle is also acknowledged.
A secondary aim is to draw out the implications of the findings for the further development of a three year research study known as the NICK Project (Nutritional Improvement for children in urban Chile and Kenya). This project aims to help two cities, Mombasa and Valparaiso, reduce child malnutrition in children less than five years of age living in poor urban areas of these cities by intervening at the municipal level to broaden community and stakeholder participation and provide exemplars of successful small-scale interventions that can change the social determinants. If successful, the innovative approach used in this study could serve as a useful guide for action in the cities of other high burden countries.
Based on a detailed study of the lives of 64 rural Afghan households since 2002 in three contrasting parts of the country it was found that eight years on many struggle to meet day to day needs and are even worse off than before. While many have experienced improvements in access to basic services, livelihood security has declined for the majority. This has been largely due to factors outside their control such as drought, the ban on opium cultivation and rising global food prices. For the few who have improved their circumstances, largely living near Kandahar it has been mainly through diversifying out of agriculture rather than remaining in it. For those that have done best initial wealth and good political connections have provided them opportunities in the urban economy. While collective action at the village level could be supportive of poor people’s lives this was strongest where economic equalities were least. Where economic inequalities were high, as in Kandahar, village elites were largely self interested.
Public policy in Afghanistan has placed a strong emphasis on market oriented agricultural production. But for many the risks of market engagement are too high and first food security needs to be assured. There is a need for more attention to promoting rural employment, improving support for saving and insurance and building on informal means of social assistance where collective action works best. Greater attention is needed to social inequalities in programme design and implementation.
The main objectives of the research financed by the DfID/ESRC grant have been: i) to better understand the processes through which human capital is accumulated in developing countries; and, ii) how this process can lead to the reduction of poverty both in the short and in the long run. More specifically, the author has been studying various aspects of the process through which poor households in developing countries make decisions that affect the accumulation of human capital.
Improving children and young people’s (CYP) wellbeing, and recognising the role they can play in creating a more sustainable world will be critical to meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This timely report provides insights into how ESRC-DFID funded research has provided new knowledge that can inform and strengthen policy making in relation to CYP issues and help meet global development ambitions.
Key research findings:
This report synthesises insights on children and young people (CYP) from research funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the UK Department for International Development (DFID) Joint Fund for Poverty Alleviation Research. It identifies the major contributions the scheme has made to knowledge on CYP in low- and middle-income countries and on effective policies for promoting CYP wellbeing. It situates learning from scheme-funded research within the wider field of CYP-oriented international development research and reflects on the ways in which findings relate to contemporary
development policy agendas for CYP. The report is based on a thorough review of all available documentation and outputs related to the 126 grants funded at the start of the review period and on conversations and interviews with current grant-holders.
The period 1996 to 2015 saw 7,056 disasters recorded worldwide by EM-DAT, the Emergency Events Database. The frequency of geophysical disasters (primarily earthquakes, including tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions) remained broadly constant throughout this period but there was a sustained rise in climate- and weather-related events (floods, storms and heatwaves in particular) which accounted for the majority of disaster deaths in most years.
Of the 1.35 million people killed by natural hazards over the past 20 years, more than half died in earthquakes, with the remainder due to weather- and climate-related hazards. The overwhelming majority of these deaths occurred in low- and middle-income countries. The poorest nations paid the highest price in terms of the numbers killed per disaster and per 100,000 population.
The global plan for reducing disaster losses, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, adopted by all UN member States in March 2015, sets a target for a substantial reduction in global disaster mortality; the statistics in this report point towards several major conclusions with implications for achieving this target:
By providing a first-hand account of development projects and business activities that have caused displacement across India, this report documents and analyses the scale, process and impacts of this phenomenon. It contributes to the existing body of evidence on this type of displacement and aims to raise awareness among policy-makers, business elites, academics, NGOs and operational decision-makers at the national and international level.
The report examines nine cases of displacement caused by development in the states of Gujarat, Jharkhand, Kerala and the national capital territory of Delhi. They reveal failed regulation, inadequate enforcement and harm to communities that extend to other cases elsewhere in India. They show that land acquisitions have pushed people aside with no regard for their rights or needs for decades. They are the result of government indifference and a failure to monitor the human rights impacts of projects and establish accountability mechanisms to address them.
The case studies for this report contribute to the global evidence base on displacement caused by development. The detrimental impacts of development projects in India highlight the need to address the issue in key policy agendas and discussions. Despite IDPs’ awareness of their rights and resistance to their eviction and displacement, they will not escape poverty without significant external support and systemic changes to social and economic policies.
Global development agendas should ensure that while development projects may alleviate poverty for some, they should not at the same time create new poor or heighten the existing economic vulnerabilities of those evicted. Neglecting those evicted and displaced would undermine the achievement of global development goals. The timescale for planning and implementing projects provides ample opportunity to avoid or minimise displacement, and to put measures in place to ensure that those who are displaced achieve durable solutions.
Many governments in developing countries are setting up non-contributory programs to assist older people, most of whom are not covered by formal pension schemes. Malawi is no stranger to the international advancement of social security and social protection. That said, further analysis on the implementation and the role of social pensions in tackling old-age poverty was needed to inform government policy and practice.
The aim of the study was to address the knowledge gap of social pension reforms in Malawi. The study examined what has been learned from the programs operating in different African countries, and highlights the key policy and budgetary issues that arise. The study has concluded that social pensions represent an important component of an institutional foundation for old-age social protection.
There are affordable options for Malawi to begin expanding a universal pension in the coming years. Various scenarios exist for universal pensions costing a fraction of GDP, which could be financed through wider efforts to increase revenue for social protection spending. Malawi could then seek to
increase the coverage and adequacy of a universal pension as more revenue can be secured, and as the economy grows.
The path chosen will depend on the political will of the government, but a potential option would be: