Legislating and Implementing Welfare Policy Reforms (LIWPR)

‘Welfare’ (or 'social protection') policy is an expanding area of public policy across much of Africa. Pensions, grants and benefits in kind are important to many poor individuals and households. 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, to win votes and legitimacy). The research programme on Legislating and Implementing Welfare Policy Reforms in Africa examines how and why welfare policy reforms have been introduced in some countries but not in others, and how and why the design of policies differs between countries. The objective is to understand better 'what works' politically in contemporary Africa.

The programme was funded primarily, from 2012 to 2016, by the UK's Department for International Development (DfID) and Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). Two-day workshops on Social Protection in Africa 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. Researchers have also presented findings at workshops in Namibia, Zambia, Botswana, Tanzania and South Africa.

The research comprises case-studies of selected Anglophone 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 (Eduard Grebe, John Bosco Mubiru and Paul Bukuleki),
  • Kenya (Mia Granvik and Jeremy Seekings),
  • Tanzania (Marianne Ulriksen) and Zanzibar (Jeremy Seekings)
  • Malawi (Sam Hamer and Hangala Siachiwena),
  • Zambia (Abigail Kabandula, Singumbe Muyeba, Hangala Siachiwena and Jeremy Seekings),
  • Namibia (Isaac Chinyoka),
  • Botswana (Sam Hamer, Jeremy Seekings and Isaac Chinyoka),
  • Zimbabwe (Isaac Chinyoka and Jeremy Seekings),
  • Mauritius (Jeremy Seekings),
  • Lesotho and Swaziland (Mia Granvik),
  • Ghana (Eduard Grebe)
  • South Africa (Gabby Kelly, Renee Roux and Jeremy Seekings).

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 research is led by Professor Jeremy Seekings.

The research focuses on the period since about 2000, but also examines some of the historical roots of contemporary programmes in countries such as Botswana. Research draws on: interviews with current and former government ministers and officials, as well as personnel from NGOs, donor organisations and international agencies; analysis of government and other documents; and, where appropriate, archival material.


LIWPR Working Papers

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

1. Seekings, “Democracy, Poverty and Inclusive Growth in South Africa since 1994”, WP 321 (2013)
2. Schwendeman, “Gendered Educational Participation and Attainment in South Africa”, WP 322 (2013)
3. Seekings and Moore, “Kin, Market and State in the Provision of Care in South Africa”, WP 327 (2013)
4. Kelly, “Regulating access to the disability grant in South Africa, 1990-2013”, WP 330 (2013)
5. Donovan, “Infrastructuring Aid: The Practice of Materializing Social Protection in Northern Kenya”, WP 333 (2013)
6. Donovan, “The Biometric Imaginary: Standardization and Objectivity in Post-Apartheid Welfare”, WP 335 (2013)
7. Grebe & Mubiru, “The politics of welfare policy-making and cash transfers in Uganda”, WP 353 (2014)
8. Grebe, “Donor agenda-setting, bureaucratic advocacy and cash transfers in Uganda, 2002-13”, WP 354 (2014)
9. Mia Granvik, “Policy diffusion, domestic politics and social protection in Lesotho, 1998-2012”, WP 357 (2015)
10. Seekings, “The ‘developmental’ and ‘welfare’ state in South Africa”, WP 358 (2015)
11. Seekings, “State capacity and the construction of pro-poor welfare states in the “developing” world”, WP 359 (2014)
12. 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”, WP 360 (2014)
13. Grebe, “The politics of social protection in a competitive African democracy: Explaining social protection policy reform in Ghana (2000-2014)”, WP 361 (2014)
14. Hamer, ““Our Father’s Programmes”: Political branding around social protection in Botswana, 2008-2014”, WP 370 (2015)
15. Hamer, “Championing the poor: Branding around poverty reduction as a response to electoral competition in Malawi, 2005-2014”, WP 371 (2015)
16. Chinyoka & Seekings, “Did the participation of the political opposition in the Zimbabwean government between 2009 and 2013 make a difference to cash transfer programmes?”, WP 373 (2016)
17. Ulriksen, “The development of social protection policies in Tanzania, 2000-2015”, WP 377 (2016)
18. Seekings, “Drought relief and the origins of a conservative welfare state in Botswana, 1966-1980”, WP 378 (2016)
19. Seekings, “Redefining the affordability of social assistance programmes: The Child Support Grant in South Africa, 1998-2014”, WP 379 (2016)
20. Siachiwena, “Policy reform in Zambia under the Sata presidency 2011-2014”, WP 390 (2016)
21. Kelly, “‘We want another doctor!’ Citizen agency and contested notions of disability in social assistance applications in South Africa”, WP 383 (2016)
22. Kelly, “Hard and soft medicine: Doctors’ framing and application of the disability category in their assessments of grant claimants’ fitness to work in South Africa”, WP 384 (2016)
23. 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”, WP 387 (2016)
24. Seekings, “Building a conservative welfare state in Botswana”, WP 388 (2016)
25. Seekings, “Affordability and the political economy of social protection in contemporary Africa”, WP 389 (2016)
26. Seekings, “The introduction of old age pensions in Zanzibar”, WP 393 (2016)
27. Seekings, ‘Welfare regimes and distribution across the global South: Theory and evidence in the construction of typologies”, WP 394 (2016)
28. Kabandula & Seekings, ‘Donor influence, the Minister of Finance and welfare policy reform in Zambia, 2003-11”, WP 395 (2016)
29. Granvik & Seekings, “The Initiation and evolution of Kenya’s OVC cash transfer programme”, WP 396 (2016)
30. Siachiwena, “The politics of welfare policy reform in Zambia after the death of Sata in 2014”, WP 403 (2017).

Further Working Papers are forthcoming on Mauritius, Kenya, Uganda, Botswana, Namibia and Malawi.


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; Jacana, 2016).