A functioning social protection system that embeds basic income as a fundamental human right to the benefit of all who reside on the continent should not be reduced to hand-outs to the poor, but rather conceptualised and accepted as a developmental policy mechanism to promote economic justice, reduce poverty and inequality and stimulate human and economic integration, as well as harness social cohesion across our porous regional borders.
This basic income grant will provide families with assistance to send their children and young girls to school, access to opportunities that will end generational poverty traps, increase basic education as a priority and achieve greater gender equality. The introduction of a universal cash transfer, predominantly funded through extractive industries, will be a remarkable stride towards poverty eradication, reduced inequalities among Africans, equal economic participation and overall African unity.
The SADC BIG amount will be US$15 per person, per month on introduction and should be inflation indexed.
Examples of social grants in countries such as Namibia, South Africa and Malawi have shown the importance of alternative social protection initiatives such a SADC Basic Income Grant (BIG) to tackle poverty .
The SADC BIG Coalition shares a common vision to eradicate poverty and reduce inequality in SADC and promote the roll out of social protection in the region in accordance with the SADC Social Charter. This will enable the continent’s poorest households to better meet their basic needs through providing everyone with a minimum level of income thus affirming and supporting the inherent dignity for all.
Dear Dr Thembinkosi Mhlongo,
We urge you to champion the establishment of a SADC-wide universal Basic Income Grant funded from the extractive industry in order to close the poverty gap in the region and to use the abundant natural resource wealth to benefit Africans by curb the illicit financial flows (estimated at over US$50 billion annually) that are bleeding Africa dry.
We require immediate and urgent interventions to lift the region out of the crippling impoverishment that has continued to plague the continent.
We would like a response before the International Anti-Poverty Week which will run from the 15th to the 21st of October 2017.
PS: The 37th Ordinary meeting of the Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the Southern African Development Community is in Durban this August. We hope that this is one of the items they deliberate on.