Rwanda Focus (Kigali)

12 November 2012

Rwanda: Experts to Set Regional Social Security Agenda

The Rwanda Social Security Board (RSSB) is hosting the 5th African Regional Social Security Conference in Kigali this week. Top on the agenda is the development of "a common vision" that can position social security to play a significant role in socio-economic development.

Angelique Kantengwa, the director general of RSSB, says that the conference that is co-organized by the East and Central Africa Social Security Associations (ECASSA) will provide a platform for sharing ideas about the future of social security as an avenue for the improvement of living conditions in the region.

"It will be an opening for the East and Central African community to exchange ideas and develop a common vision for the future of social security in contributing towards socio-economic development and growth," she said

According to a statement issued by RSSB, the conference will hear from experts who will present scientific papers, offer informed opinion in "a clear and concrete manner." Ministers, chief executive officers of social security institutions in the region, researchers, social security experts, representatives of workers and employers will attend the November 15 and 16 conference.

"The challenge for this conference is, more than ever before, to signal, in a clear and concrete manner, that we are doing everything required to foster social protection in the region as a means to improving livelihoods," Kantengwa added.

There will be a mini exhibition at the Pension Plaza from November 14 to 16 during which social security institutions in the region will showcase their projects and activities.

"The conference that is now in its fifth year is a key platform through which social security developers from around the region and the globe get to highlight the growth trajectory of social protection in the region," the statement said.

ECASSA was created in 2007 to raise awareness about the importance of social security benefits to citizens. According to ECASSA secretary general, Margaret Osure, social security in the region still faces big challenges. She said that stakeholders will this year focus on appraising the impact of social security investment and discuss the value of health care among other pertinent issues.

"Despite the achievements registered in the provision of social security in the region, it still faces a myriad of challenges such as limited coverage, inadequacy of benefits offered and a need to feel its impact on the lives of ordinary citizens," she is quoted saying in the statement.

In Rwanda, the RSSB has been making constant improvements and innovations to broaden coverage and increase benefits to contributing members. For example, a new law is in the offing seeking to overhaul the current system and give savers more pre-retirement benefits such as buying/building homes, paying tuition fees among others.

Officials say that RSSB is working towards a comprehensive system that takes care off all social security needs of Rwandans "This can only be possible through partnerships with both regional and international social security organs," Kantengwa said.

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