The Center of Excellence for Social Protection (CEPS), a government of Senegal initiative led by the Ministry of Community Development and Social Equity, aims to provide a platform for the exchange of innovative development solutions, knowledge, experiences, and good practices, as well as learning, in the field of social protection and poverty reduction, primarily among African countries in the broader framework of South-South cooperation.
At the request of the Government of Senegal, a feasibility study for the establishment of the Center was carried out with the technical and financial assistance of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). The findings of this study were recently presented at a meeting that included representatives from government agencies, the UN System, technical and financial partners, and civil society organizations. It was also an opportunity to share experiences and dialogue in order to develop a shared knowledge of the potential and challenges associated with the implementation of CEPS, as well as to establish essential features for the roadmap. Indeed, Senegal has established itself as a model for social protection in terms of the assistance and support it provides to the poor. As a result, it has become the chosen destination for many African countries’ study and benchmarking tours. Senegal has achieved commendable success in a variety of construction and social protection system coverage sectors.
Through various social protection projects and programs, such as the National Family Security Scholarship Program (PNBSF), Universal Health Coverage (CMU), the Equal Opportunity Card (EOC), and the National Health Insurance Fund (NHAF), the Equal Opportunity Card (CEC), and structuring projects, more than 30 percent of the vulnerable population has now been covered. The Emergency Program for Community Development (PUDC) and the Emergency Program for the Modernization of Border Areas and Territories (PUMA) are two of them, both aimed at restoring equality and territorial balance through infrastructure development. Mrs. Aminata SOW, General Delegate for Social Protection and National Solidarity (DGPSN), who officially opened the session, underlined these achievements and programs in her speech.
Based on these significant achievements and the need to increase knowledge generation to strengthen the social protection sector, Senegal’s government saw it as strategically important to establish the Center of Excellence in Social Protection (CEP) to improve its experiences and formalize social protection exchanges between Senegal and other countries.
“We are thus taking a significant step toward establishing a platform for the exchange and sharing of innovative solutions for the development of knowledge, experiences, and good practices, as well as for learning in the field of social protection and poverty reduction, primarily among African countries and within the broader framework of South-South cooperation,” said Mr. Makhfousse Sarr, FAO Program Officer in Senegal.
The future Center’s main responsibilities will be to:
– a database of problems and experiences; strengths and weaknesses; opportunities and challenges in the field of social protection.
— a testing ground for social protection players’ capacity building, exchange, and solution-finding, with a focus on innovation and scaling processes.
– a display to highlight effective practices, possibilities to form alliances, promote successful experiences, solidify capitalization, share with other nations, and scale up good social protection measures.
FAO supports the project to construct a Center of Excellence for Social Protection as an unparalleled effort in Africa that will help develop social protection systems in Senegal and other African nations in order to fulfill the SDGs and the Africa 2063 Agenda.