The evolution of social protection policy in Ghana’s ‘Fourth Republic’: Contributory social insurance reform and limited social assistance for the ‘extreme poor’ under NPP and NDC governments, 2000-2014

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University of Cape Town

During the 2000s, Ghana introduced substantial social protection policy reforms. The contributory pensions system was reformed from a single statutory defined-benefit scheme and a colonial-era unfunded scheme for civil servants to a new system with additional mandatory and voluntary privately-administered ‘tiers’ augmenting the statutory scheme. A new contributory national health insurance scheme was introduced in 2003. Several forms of social assistance targeted at the (largely rural) poor, including a school feeding programme, ‘capitation grants’ to expand free primary education and the flagship Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) cash transfer scheme were introduced. All of these reforms were initiated under John Kufuor (of the New Patriotic Party, NPP), who had defeated Jerry Rawlings (and his National Democratic Convention, NDC) in 2000. When the NDC returned to power in 2008, it continued the implementation of NPP-initiated reforms, modestly expanded cash transfers and maintained broadly similar economic and social policy.