A business-as-usual approach to social policy? The North African experience

Hicham Ait Mansour, Rana Jawad

Research output: Chapter or section in a book/report/conference proceedingChapter or section


This chapter offers a critical mapping of patterns of social security and social assistance in North African countries in order to revisit long-standing debates in the region on how to meet urgent basic needs, as well as protect human rights. The chapter discusses the tension between different approaches to social policy and the implications for programme design and implementation. To help the policy debate move forward, the chapter calls for a distinction to be made between small-scale targeted poverty relief programmes that fall under “social assistance” and larger social policy programmes, including social security policies to which all citizens should be entitled – hence, the more universal arm of social policy. The discussion provides some historical context, setting out the main political and economic factors that have shaped the social policy system in North Africa. It then focuses in more policy detail on the challenges that social policy faces there, thereby showing how far-reaching and multidimensional the needs and social problems of the local populations are. The chapter shows that the social policy system continues to be dominated by social safety net and social assistance programmes. It reinforces the argument that social policy plays a key role in advancing social and economic development, which is not an argument that has been recognized in practice among North African governments.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSocial Policy in the Middle East and North Africa
Subtitle of host publicationThe New Social Protection Paradigm and Universal Coverage
PublisherEdward Elgar Publishing Ltd
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)9781786431998
ISBN (Print)9781786431981
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Rana Jawad, Nicola Jones and Mahmood Messkoub 2019. All rights reserved.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)


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