Nigeria

COVID-19: Developing countries should invest $1.2trn to guarantee basic social protection —ILO

TO guarantee at least basic income security and access to essential health care for all in 2020 alone, developing countries should invest approximately $1.2 trillion – on average 3.8 per cent of their GDP – a new International Labour Organization (ILO) policy brief, said.

Since the onset of the COVID -19 pandemic, the social protection financing gap has increased by approximately 30 per cent. This is according to financing gaps in social protection: global estimate and strategies for developing countries in light of the COVID-19 crisis and beyond.

This is the result of the increased need for healthcare services and income security for workers who lost their jobs during the lockdown and the reduction of GDP caused by the crisis.

The situation, according to ILO, is particularly dire in low-income countries who would need to spend nearly 16 per cent of their GDP to close the gap – around $80 billion.

Regionally, it stated that the relative burden of closing the gap is particularly high in Central and Western Asia, Northern Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa (between eight per cent and nine per cent of their GDP).

It added that even before the COVID-19 crisis, the global community was failing to live up to the social protection, legal and policy commitments it had made in the wake of the last global catastrophe – the 2008 financial crisis.

Currently, only 45 per cent of the global population is effectively covered by at least one social protection benefit. The remaining population – more than 4 billion people – is completely unprotected.

“Low-income countries must invest approximately $80 billion, nearly 16 per cent of their GDP, to guarantee at least basic income security and access to essential health care to all,” said Shahrashoub Razavi, Director of the ILO’s Social Protection Department.

Razavi added, “Domestic resources are not nearly enough. Closing the annual financing gap requires international resources based on global solidarity.”

Mobilization at the international level should complement national efforts, the ILO added.

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