How technology can be deployed to scale-up Social Protection during COVID-19: The Case of South Africa, Nigeria and Africa

This RIA policy brief examines how technology, such as artificial intelligence (AI), can be deployed to scale social protection programmes as well as reduce corruption in the disbursement of social protection grants, which the COVID-19 lockdowns, have revealed are vital lifelines for the most vulnerable.

Highlights
  • Redistributive fiscal policies are widely accepted as essential to dealing with the economic and social fall out of COVID-19 lockdowns, as they make provision for scaling-up national social protection programmes.
  • Crucial public policy debates, including the need for demand-side valuation in resource allocation in the scaling up of social protection will focus on inequality and how to ensure that the funds reach their poorest and most vulnerable; whereas key supply-side and political economy contentions will centre on how to minimise the inefficiencies and transaction costs associated with the disbursement of these funds, and who should pay for these programmes.
  • Drawing on our pre-COVID-19 After Access survey data collected between 2017 and 2019 across 10 African countries, we explore the pre-pandemic infrastructure endowments that are likely to enable or constrain the scaling-up of social protection at the household level and make suggestions on how technologies and last mile payment distribution could be optimised to alleviate extreme poverty as well as reduce corruption and maladministration.

Suggested citation

Kabinga, M., Razzano, G., & Chinembiri, T. (2021). How technology can be deployed to scale-up Social Protection during COVID-19: The Case of South Africa, Nigeria and Africa (Policy Brief 2021, No. 2). Research ICT Africa. https://researchictafrica.net/publication/how-technology-can-be-deployed-to-scale-up-social-protection-during-covid-19-the-case-of-south-africa-nigeria-and-africa/