In the media
Will COVID-19 lead to better social protection systems? UNU-WIDER's expertise on social impacts highlighted in a Finnish development magazine

UNU-WIDER Research Associate Milla Nyyssölä shares her insights on an article regarding the future of social assistance in developing countries. The article was published in the 3/2020 issue of the Finnish magazine Kehitys-Utveckling (Development).

In the article Nyyssölä explains how it is only now with the corona crisis that many countries have come to understand their urgent need for social protection and more equality in the society. The situation is especially difficult in countries with previously weak social assistance systems, with high incidence of inequality and internal tensions. With the economic recession and lockdowns caused by COVID-19 it is not only the poorest people that are struggling, Nyyssölä reminds.

Nyyssölä also shares information on different types of cash transfer programmes in different parts of the world and underlines the fact that social assistance is always a political question. She explains that research has proven there is a connection between the improvement of social protection and strengthening of democratic structures, though China is a notable exception of this. Nyyssölä says donors and international organizations are often involved in developing social assistance programmes in low-income countries, but she reminds that without a strong commitment by local government the programmes will not go far.

Nyyssölä wants to believe the corona pandemic will be a wake-up call for governments in developing countries to improve social assistance in their countries. The decrease in tax income caused by the epidemic might make advancing the social protection slower, but if the crisis gives citizens a chance and willingness to vote for more equitable leaders, thing will change for better, she concludes.

Read the full article online (in Finnish):

Kehitys 3/2020: Seuraako pandemiasta parempaa sosiaaliturvaa?