Countries share best practice on developing social safety nets

12 May 15

Government officials from across the Middle East and North Africa have met in Kuwait this week to discuss how to develop social security systems and other safety nets to deal with sluggish growth, economic reforms and conflicts in the region.

At a week-long event sponsored by the International Monetary Fund’s Middle East Centre for Economic and Finance and held in collaboration with the World Bank, experts shared knowledge and practical experience on the design and implementation of social safety nets.

The event has focused on providing practical advice and lessons learned from countries across the region.

Speaking before the event, Bassam Ramadan, the World Bank’s country manager in Kuwait, said: ‘This course provides an excellent and timely opportunity for practitioners from across the region to discuss not only best practices, but also ideas for implementing them.

‘This fruitful dialogue can help improve the effectiveness of social safety net programs in better addressing the specific needs and issues faced by the various countries of the region.’

Oussama Kanaan, director of the IMF’s Middle East Center for Economics and Finance said the experience of a large number of countries showed that well-designed social safety net programs were important for the sustainability of economic reforms, especially those requiring a substantial reduction in the budget deficit.

‘Such programs are essential both to protect vulnerable people from the adverse impact of the reforms, as well to enable a reallocation of public spending toward health, education, and other areas that are key to inclusive economic growth.’

  • Judith Ugwumadu
    Judith Ugwumadu

    Judith writes about public finance, public services and economics across Public Finance International and Public Finance. She previously undertook reporting stints at Financial Adviser, Global Security Finance and The Sunday Express.

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