Public Works and Social Protection in Sub-Saharan Africa

Do Public Works Work for the Poor?

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Public Works Programmes (PWPs) are widely implemented in developing countries, often with funding from major international donor agencies. They provide employment for the chronically poor while creating assets for the state, offering a transfer of welfare which is also a tangible economic investment. This book critically explores the concept of the PWPs and questions their social protection performance in the context of chronic poverty. It reviews over 200 PWPs in eastern and southern Africa, using original research drawn from extensive field analysis, interviews and survey work. It also examines case studies of six international PWPs — in India, Argentina, Ireland, Ethiopia, Indonesia and the USA. It is argued that the current PWPs approach may need to be revisited.


United Nations University
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