Southern Africa Federation of the Disabled (SAFOD)

People with Disability Left Out of out of the Social Assistance in Southern Africa

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04 May, 2020


Southern Africa is said to be one of the continent’s regions that are struggling to fund social assistance programs to improve their reach and adequacy, according a report published on 4 May 2020 on the The four countries that were identified in the report include Madagascar, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The report, authored by Gift Dafuleya of in The Conversation, noted that most social assistance in Africa is targeted at poor and vulnerable children and older people. People with disabilities, the youth and other adults are typically left out.

However, other countries that either had institutionalized social assistance or relied on domestic resources to fund their social assistance programs did not hesitate to provide emergency relief to mitigate the effects caused by the COVID-19 containment measures. South Africa was cited as an example in the region.

The report further documented that the emerging pattern of COVID-19 responses in April showed that countries with weak state-run social assistance lagged far behind in shielding livelihoods and the economy from lasting damage, casting doubt on any prospects of getting any significant foreign assistance.

“That's because their global partners, among them France, the United States and the United Kingdom, are themselves badly affected by the pandemic. They are thus unlikely to focus their attention elsewhere,” reads the report in part.

At the continent level, though, Gift Dafuleya reported that most of these measures had resulted in the loss of livelihoods for many people, particularly in the informal sector, where an estimated 85.5% of workers play their trades.

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