Legislating and Implementing Welfare Policy Reforms (LIWPR)

‘Welfare’ (or 'social protection') policy is a major issue not only in South Africa – where many poor households depend on pensions or grants – but increasingly across much of Africa. International organisations, donors from the global North, and African political parties and civil society organisations have been pressing for expanded cash transfers as a mechanism to reduce poverty (and, for political parties, win votes and legitimacy). The CSSR conducts a range of research on diverse aspects of welfare programmes in South African and elsewhere.

From 2012 to 2016, the UK's Department for International Development (DfID) and Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) funded a research programme on Legislating and Implementing Welfare Policy Reforms in Africa. The research was led by Professor Jeremy Seekings. Funding from the ESRC/DfID has now been concluded, and the research team are in the process of concluding a long series of Working Papers commissioned under the programme.

The research comprises case-studies of selected countries across Southern, East and West Africa, as well as comparative papers on key themes. The countries covered (and the researchers involved over the course of the programme) are:

  • Uganda (Dr Eduard Grebe, John Bosco Mubiru and Paul Bukuleki),
  • Kenya (Mia Granvik and Jeremy Seekings),
  • Tanzania (Dr Marianne Ulriksen),
  • Malawi (Sam Hamer and Hangala Siachiwena),
  • Zambia (Abigail Kabandula, Dr Singumbe Muyeba, Hangala Siachiwena and Jeremy Seekings),
  • Namibia (Drs Dirk and Claudia Haarmann, and Isaac Chinyoka),
  • Botswana (Sam Hamer, Jeremy Seekings and Isaac Chinyoka),
  • Zimbabwe (Isaac Chinyoka and Jeremy Seekings),
  • Mauritius (Jeremy Seekings),
  • Mozambique (Francisco Diez),
  • Lesotho and Swaziland (Mia Granvik),
  • Ghana (Dr Eduard Grebe, Edward Ampratwum)
  • South Africa (Gabby Kelly, Renee Roux and Jeremy Seekings).

Professor Nicoli Nattrass has examined patterns in public health expenditures across Africa. Kevin Donovan, with additional funding raised through Privacy International, examined the use of biometric identification in the implementation of cash transfers in South Africa and Kenya. The project was administered by Liz Welsh.

Two-day workshops on Social Protection in Afirca were held in May 2013, May 2014 and June 2015, attended by researchers from universities as well as practitioners from South Africa and elsewhere in Africa.

Research is published in the first instance through CSSR Working Papers, available at www.cssr.uct.ac.za/publications/workingpapers.


LIWPR Working Papers

  1. Seekings, "Democracy, Poverty and Inclusive Growth in South Africa since 1994", CSSR WP 321 (2013)
  2. Schwendeman, "Gendered Educational Participation and Attainment in South Africa", CSSR WP 322 (2013)
  3. Seekings and Moore, "Kin, Market and State in the Provision of Care in South Africa", CSSR WP 327 (2013)
  4. Kelly, "Regulating access to the disability grant in South Africa, 1990-2013", CSSR WP 330 (2013)
  5. Donovan, "Infrastructuring Aid: The Practice of Materializing Social Protection in Northern Kenya", CSSR WP 333 (2013)
  6. Donovan, "The Biometric Imaginary: Standardization and Objectivity in Post-Apartheid Welfare", CSSR WP 335 (2013)Mia Granvik, “Policy diffusion, domestic politics and social protection in Lesotho, 1998-2012” (CSSR WP 357)
  7. Seekings, “The ‘developmental’ and ‘welfare’ state in South Africa” (CSSR WP 358)
  8. Seekings, “State capacity and the construction of pro-poor welfare states in the “developing” world” (CSSR WP 359)
  9. Grebe, “The evolution of social protection policy in Ghana’s ‘Fourth Republic’: Contributory social insurance reform and limited social assistance for the ‘extreme poor’ under NPP and NDC governments, 2000-2014” (CSSR WP 360)
  10. Grebe, “The politics of social protection in a competitive African democracy: Explaining social protection policy reform in Ghana (2000-2014)” (CSSR WP 361)
  11. Hamer, ““Our Father’s Programmes”: Political branding around social protection in Botswana, 2008-2014”(CSSR WP 370)
  12. Hamer, “Championing the poor: Branding around poverty reduction as a response to electoral competition in Malawi, 2005-2014”(CSSR WP 371)
  13. Chinyoka & Seekings, “Did the participation of the political opposition in the Zimbabwean government between 2009 and 2013 make a difference to cash transfer programmes?” (CSSR WP 373)
  14. Ulriksen, “The development of social protection policies in Tanzania, 2000-2015” (CSSR WP 377)
  15. Seekings, "Drought relief and the origins of a conservative welfare state in Botswana, 1966-1980" (CSSR WP 378)

The following additional Working Papers (with provisional titles) are being finalised and will be published in the first half of 2016:

  1. Seekings, ‘Welfare regimes and distribution across the global South: Theory and evidence in the construction of typologies’
  2. Seekings, ‘Are African welfare regimes different? Welfare state-building in Africa in comparative perspective’
  3. Kabandula & Seekings, ‘Donor influence, the Minister of Finance and welfare policy reform in Zambia, 2003-11’
  4. Seekings, ‘Welfare Reform and the Conservative Social Contract: Botswana under Botswana Democratic Party governments, 1994-2010’
  5. Seekings, ‘”A lean cow cannot climb out of the mud, but a good cattleman does not leave it to perish”: The origins of a conservative welfare doctrine in Botswana under Seretse Khama, 1966-1980’
  6. Seekings, ‘The promise deferred: “Comprehensive social security” in late colonial Mauritius, 1950-68’
  7. Seekings, ‘The introduction of social insurance in independent Mauritius, 1968-78’
  8. Haarmann & Haarmann, ‘The politics of drought relief in Namibia, 2012-14’
  9. Seekings, “Redefining the affordability of social assistance programmes: The Child Support Grant in South Africa, 1998-2014”
  10. Seekings, “Affordability and the political economy of social protection in contemporary Africa”
  11. Granvik, “The Initiation and evolution of Kenya’s OVC cash transfer programme”
  12. Siachiwena, “Policy reform in Zambia under the Sata presidency 2011-2014”
  13. Bulukeki, “Popular attitudes towards cash grants/transfers and public works programs in Uganda”

In the second half of 2016 we anticipate publishing a further twenty working papers on case-studies and comparative analyses. We thus anticipate a total of more than forty working papers by the conclusion of the project, mostly dealing with aspects of our country case-studies, but with some comparative papers.

Other publications

Seekings, ‘The Politics of Social Policy in Africa’, in Nic Cheeseman, David Anderson and Andrea Scheibler (eds), Routledge Handbook of African Politics (London: Routledge, 2013): 309-21.

Seekings and Moore, ‘Kinship, market and state in the provision of care in South Africa’, Soziale Welt special issue 20 (2014): 435-450.

Seekings and Nattrass, Policy, Politics and Poverty in South Africa (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015).