Prioritizing vulnerable groups, evaluating and rationalizing existing social assistance programs, increasing local and community participation, establishing a national registry of beneficiaries, and developing targeting mechanisms to reach priority groups are the main recommendations for a social assistance strategy in Guinea-Bissau outlined in the report “Building Resilience for Vulnerable Populations” released by the World Bank.
Guinea-Bissau is a fragile state characterized by political instability, weak institutions, low human development outcomes, and high poverty levels. Vulnerable populations are particularly exposed to risks that can negatively impact their lives, such as weak governance, lack of economic diversification, natural disasters, epidemics, job loss, low education, and low ownership of assets. Public spending on social assistance is low: About US$20 per person per year. Donor organizations and development partners predominantly finance social assistance programs in the country. There are also numerous social assistance programs implemented by various government institutions.
“The report analyses multiple risks and vulnerabilities faced by the citizens of Guinea-Bissau and the social assistance programs that seek to mitigate these risks. It provides evidence that the existing social assistance programs are not sufficient to protect the population. The report provides recommendations to assist the government in improving its social assistance strategy and monitor its implementation,” says Philippe Auffret, Senior Social Protection Specialist of the World Bank and lead author of the report.
The “Building Resilience for Vulnerable Populations” report suggests that the Government of Guinea-Bissau needs to define and finance its own social assistance strategy. Detailed assessment of existing social assistance programs could be a practical first step towards reducing vulnerabilities. The involvement of local authorities and communities may improve the effectiveness of social assistance interventions. In addition, the establishment of a national registry of beneficiaries and targeting mechanisms to channel social assistance benefits to priority groups would be essential.