Brics nations improving social security

Johannesburg - The Brics group of countries is rapidly and effectively developing social protection programmes, the International Social Security Association (ISSA) has found.

The programmes included access to health care and basic pensions, and were extending social security to millions of citizens in Brazil, India, China and South Africa, which make up Brics, the ISSA said on Thursday.

“Social security developments in these countries are particularly significant, as they represent 42 percent of the world’s population,” it said in a statement.

The study identified political will to extend social security, and the dynamic economic environment as the key factors behind the increased social security.

It found there had been significant and sustained economic growth in the countries in the past two decades, driven by an increasing demand for natural resources and manufactured goods.

The countries had also developed value-added industries through substantial investment in training and education.

All five countries had experienced significant societal changes, including changes in family structures and a large rural to urban migration over the same period.

The ISSA is an international organisation which brings together national social security administrations and agencies, and provides information, research, advice and platforms for members to build and promote social security systems and policy.

The Brics countries have gained increasing international prominence in recent years because of their rapid economic growth and corresponding rise in political status.

“The innovative research carried out by the ISSA and its members has detailed the scale and pioneering nature of the improvements in social security coverage achieved by the Brics countries over a short period of time,” said its secretary-general Hans-Horst Konkolewsky.

“The ISSA research project on the Brics countries gives international prominence to the unprecedented strengthening of social protection systems which has accompanied the economic development of these countries,” said the ISSA's Brics steering committee chairperson, Anton Drozdov, who also chairs the pension fund board of the Russian Federation.

“The ISSA project has also provided social security institutions in the Brics with an invaluable platform for the analysis and dissemination of good practices and effective administrative solutions for the extension of social security and the improvement of benefits for citizens,” he said.

The ISSA said its study showed the countries' diverse approaches to the problems each faced to extend social security coverage, and illustrated how the local realities and environment in each country shaped policy responses. - Sapa

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