The Evolution of Social Policy: Up to and Beyond COVID-19
‘Jimi O. Adesina
The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated to the global community the need for social policies that are more broadly conceived. There is also an imperative, both in the current period of global crisis and in the long-term, for development researchers, policymakers and practitioners to envision, advocate for, and design social policy infrastructures that are more robust. This briefing paper reflects on the history of social policymaking in Africa to help us to think about how we can create a relevant, comprehensive and impactful social policy regimes for African countries, during and beyond these dynamic times.
Social Policy in Times of Crises
The COVID-19 pandemic, while originally a health crisis, has become a crisis of education, housing, employment and labour market, food security, social security, care and so on. These crises have exposed the vulnerability of our societies, compelling us to rethink how economic and social activities are organized to promote human well-being, which is the ultimate concern of social policy (see Box 1). In our attempts to address the COVID-19 pandemic, what lessons can African countries draw from a history of crises across different times and places?
Gender Equitable and Transformative Social Policy Beyond COVID-19
COVID-19 has shown that, while global crises affect all who live on the planet, its impacts at country-levels are highly differentiated and often worsen existing gender, class and spatial inequalities. State responses to the COVID-19 pandemic have exposed the limitations of our current social policy systems to address these inequalities. What opportunities does the current crisis offer us to develop transformative social policy that will lead to more equitable societies?