Rwanda Focus (Kigali)

14 November 2012

Rwanda Hosts 5th African Regional Social Security Conference

Rwanda Social Security Board (RSSB) in partnership with the East and Central Africa Social Security Associations (ECASSA) will, starting today host the 5th African Regional Social Security Conference. The two-day conference will also serve as a mini exhibition of activities and projects carried out by social security institutions in the region.

"This conference 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," said Uganda's Richard Byarugaba, the outgoing chairperson of ECASSA.

Ms Angelique Kantengwa, the director general of RSSB and new chairperson of ECASSA said that the challenge for the 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."

But despite the achievements registered in the provision of social security in the region, there are still a myriad of challenges faced such as limited coverage, inadequacy of benefits offered and a need to feel its impact on the lives of ordinary citizens.

According to ECASSA's secretary general Margaret Osure, this year, all stakeholders and sector players will focus their energies in appraising the impact of social security investment in the region, discuss the value of health care in the region, as well as look into the basic elements of a decent work program together with its applicability to the socio-economic development of countries in East and Central Africa.

ECASSA was established in 2007 in order to be at the forefront of creating and raising awareness of the importance of social security to the citizens of the East and Central African region.

"ECASSA commits to donate a percentage of the funds received for the conference's organization to support a corporate social responsibility project of choice in the host country, Rwanda," said Osure.

Yesterday, USD 1,746, Rwf 100,000 and 1,000 Kenyan shillings was donated to Imbaraga Association- a group of women operating in Kicukiro district as a cooperative.

On Rwanda's side, RSSB's vision is to envision a comprehensive social security system that addresses the social security needs of all Rwandans as it strives to realize the country's vision of social security for all by 2020. "This can only be possible through partnerships with both regional and international social security organs," said Kantengwa.

According to RSSB's DG, in Rwanda, social security covers 9-10 per cent of the working population and the target for ten years ahead is coverage of 40 per cent- 60 per cent. For medical insurance the coverage equals 92 per cent of the population.

The conference is attended by 19 CEOs and DGs of social security institutions from six countries (Uganda, Burundi, Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda and Zambia).

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