University of Bath

Social protection policies in the Middle East & North African region (MENA)

An IPR Policy Brief summarising the development of social protection policies in the MENA region since 2000.

This policy brief presents research undertaken by Dr Rana Jawad (University of Bath) which began in 2000 into the social welfare systems in the MENA region. It offers a broad mapping of the institutional structures that underpin social policy there. In addition to long-standing programmes of universal food and fuel subsidies, the research highlights the complex interplay of informal social assistance for vulnerable groups who cannot work and employment-based welfare provision which gives preference to male and public sector workers. In consequence, welfare systems in the region primarily address the symptoms rather than the causes of poverty.

A number of recommendations are made for the development of new social policies in the region, and the role civil and religious activism can potentially play.