Social Protection



Situation and Priorities

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Social protection situation

About 40% of people in Cameroon live in poverty. The labour market is largely informal, with the rate of informality being as high as 88.6% in 2014. 72% of all health expenditure are out-of-pocket payments, with less than 3% of people covered by adequate social health protection.

The current social protection system has two pillars: a scheme for civil servants and the National Social Insurance Fund (Caisse Nationale de Prévoyance Sociale - CNPS) for workers under the Labour Code. The CNPS covers 10% of the population and provides most of the benefits prescribed by the ILO’s Social Security (Minimum Standards) Convention, 1952 (No. 102), with the exception of unemployment and sickness benefits. Workers outside the formal labour market (estimated at 7.3 million people) are largely uncovered, although a contributory pension regime has recently been extended, currently reaching 250,000 own-account workers, most of whom are in the informal economy (2020).
Visit the Social Protection COVID-19 Monitor


In response to COVID-19, measures taken by the CNPS included increasing the benefit level of family allowances by over 60% and of pensions by 20%. Social security contributions were also deferred for companies and late fees were eliminated, and payments of family allowances were made to staff placed on technical leave. Total COVID-19 health spending was increased by CFA 6.5 billion (US$ 11.7 million).

Government priorities

The Ministry of Employment and Social Affairs developed the national social protection policy and strategy in 2016, with the support of the ILO and UNICEF. The principle objectives remain important priorities for the government:
  • Implementing a universal health coverage system.
  • Extending social insurance, in particular short-term benefits, to the informal economy.
  • Adopting of a framework law defining the principles, institutions, and mechanisms for the coverage and financing of social security in Cameroon.
  • Developing non-contributory systems (social assistance) for people with disabilities and other vulnerable groups: the ILO has already helped the Government develop a nationwide methodology for reaching vulnerable populations, which has been piloted in several municipalities, providing around 10,000 households with social transfers and health coverage. Work is now ongoing to extend this to more municipalities.
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ILO Projects and Programmes

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Funding gaps / Support the ILO

  • US$1.5 million: Design and implement a pilot Employment Intensive Investment Prorgamme (EIIP).
  • US$350,000: Design a universal social assistance scheme providing cash transfers to vulnerable people.
  • US$250,000: Develop capacity building maternials for national staff to efficiently administer the social protection schemes.
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ILO Experts

Dramane Batchabi
Specialist, Social Protection
Joana Borges Henriques
Specialist, Social Protection
Arlette Salome Bwaka
National Officer