On November 7th, Dr Stephen Kidd gave a presentation on ‘Strategies for reaching the informal economy with Social Protection’ for The Gambia International Social Protection Conference. The event was marked by a momentous opening on November 6th, where the Vice President of The Republic of The Gambia, Muhammad Jallow, unveiled the government’s ambition to implement a comprehensive social protection system by 2035.
Stephen presented on the crucial need to implement an inclusive life-cycle social protection system in countries like The Gambia, particularly weakened by high unemployment rates and little support for older citizens. Proposing a universal old-age pension finance scheme, participants were challenged to imagine innovative methods to sustain such schemes.
While universal social protection systems seem cost-intensive and unfeasible, especially for an economically weaker country like The Gambia, the key takeaway was that the benefits outweigh these hesitations. They are not only worth pursuing but must be implemented. Social protection should not only be a privilege, but a right for all citizens, especially the many who live their entire lives working in the informal economy.