Social pensions and policy learning: The case of southern Africa


  • The views in this article are those of the authors alone and should not be attributed to the International Social Security Association.

Bernard H. Casey, IER, University of Warwick, Coventry, CV4 7AL, UK. Email:; Roddy McKinnon, 4 route des Morillons, CH1211, Geneva 22, Switzerland. Email:


In the last decade and particularly since the publication of the Millennium Development Goals, social pensions have captured the interest of those concerned with the well-being of older people across that large part of the world where formal, contributions-financed, old-age benefit systems cover only a minority of the population. International organizations have turned their attention to such schemes and some see them as having a valuable role to play. However, information about what they are and how they work, and about their efficacy in meeting the objectives set for them, is still limited. Learning has been taking place not only in the international organizations but also in the region where they are most prominent – southern Africa. Such learning should be encouraged and the International Social Security Association has a part to play in this learning process.