The former traditional and the later formal: An evolutionary analysis of social protection in Ghana.
This study looks at social protection from the indigenous African point of view and looks at the trajectory it has taken to its current state with reference to current trends in social protection. Social protection has been a phenomenon within societies since humans started living together in settlements. In the pre-colonial African societies, traditional social protection was institutionalized in the extended family system, to take care of the vulnerable. Social protection appeared in various forms to help alleviate poverty in traditional African societies. After the independence of African states and the quest for rapid socio-economic development, segments of the population have been left in the quagmire of poverty and deepening state of desperation. Social protection offered by the extended family has been deficient as the demands of modernity have had a heavy toll on the traditional structures. The path to socio-economic development has always left patches of poverty and suffering necessitating social protection programmes to mitigate the suffering of the masses. Governments are left with no choice but to intervene in the field of social protection and thereby, bringing a transition from „traditional‟ social protection to „modern‟ or „formal‟ social protection.
This paper investigates the traditional forms of social protection and the factors that have caused the relative weakening of such traditional forms of social protection. This paper also looks at the development of modern forms of social protection in Africa with examples from the Ghanaian setting.