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Updated by Victoria Giroud-Castiella on 16.09.2014

Ethiopia currently implements three mandated contributory social security schemes - two pension schemes and a social health insurance scheme. In addition, the Labour Proclamation mandates employers to provide some employment-related protections. However, Ethiopia does not yet have statutory non-contributory social grants such as old-age pensions, child grants and disability grants.

Non-statutory non-contributory transfers are provided by both public and private providers.  The largest is the Productive Safety Net Program (PSNP) which provides 8.3 million beneficiaries with predictable cash transfers during lean months. Apart from government-managed social assistance programs, numerous non-governmental organizations (NGOs) manage a variety of cash and commodity transfers, which are mainly financed by international donors. However, there is currently no system in place to determine the aggregate volume and coverage of transfers by NGOs. 

Similarly, non-contributory services are provided by both public and private providers.  Primary and secondary education is universally free in Ethiopia. The regional legislations promulgated to enforce the Health Care Financing Strategy and the Essential Health Services Package provide fee waivers to eligible beneficiaries and free essential health services. In addition to public services, several NGOs also provide educational and health services.  Again, there is no system to determine the aggregate volume and coverage of their services.  Available studies indicate that the majority of NGOs cover or subsidize education and health services fees incurred by targeted beneficiaries while a minority provides one or both services themselves.

Overall, Ethiopia has a range of policies, legislations, strategies and action plans that have implications for the provision of social protection. However, there are legal, social, political, economic and institutional limitations that have constrained their systematic and integrated enforcement towards a comprehensive social protection system. The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (MoLSA) and its partners have recently drafted a National Social Protection Policy that can address these multiple challenges. While the draft is currently tabled at the Council of Ministers, its implementation strategy is under formulation.