Social protection spending

MDG Target 1This analysis is based on the latest trends analysis of GSW data in the GSW 2015 report

MDG target 1.A is to halve the proportion of people whose income is less than $1.25 a day. This target was met in 2010, lifting half a billion people out of poverty in the process. However, concerns remain about the fact that many countries, especially in Africa, did not meet the target.

All government spending which boosts economic development for the poor and promotes inclusive and employment-intensive growth can help meet this goal. However, GSW data focuses on the direct government interventions that have been most effective in reducing poverty and providing employment, known as ‘social protection’ spending.

What does the latest GSW data on social protection show?

  • Only Timor Leste meets any of the international finance targets on social protection.
  • Across all countries the average spending is less than 1% of GDP – though most countries have increased spending in recent years
  • Higher spending will be vital to target zero extreme poverty, full employment and decent work, and reduced inequality: even a cash transfer programme would cost US$65-90 billion extra a year.
  • It will also be vital to invest in capacity to disaggregate social protection spending by target and beneficiary.
    • To read the social protection section of the report, click herepdf.
    • To see what explains these trends, by understanding the financing behind them, including donor aid performance, click herepdf.
    • To see how accessible data are for this sector, click herepdf.


A Chance to Grow - How Social Protection Can Tackle Child Malnutrition and Promote Economic Opportunities

A chance to Grow Publication

This report focuses on one component of social protection – social transfers – which are particularly relevant to simultaneously enhance economic growth, food security and nutrition. It calls on developing country government and donors to encourage and reinforce social protection programmes – and in so doing reduce child hunger and malnutrition. It finds that the increased focus on social protection as a result of the global economic crisis has not translated into a response in terms of increased spending on social protection: indeed there are accelerating cuts as a % of GDP.

Download this report   savechildren