The ECASSA founding member schemes have very high expectations of what they expect of the Association. This is not only expected but indeed every member scheme has the right to see and feel tangible membership benefits enabling them to collectively make positive impact in the improvement of the quality of life of the people of this sub-region as premised in the Association’s objectives.
Notable excerpts by some stakeholders:
“Social Security plays a major role in economic development and social welfare…. “ECASSA is timely especially at a time when the East African Community has been broadened to include the two sister countries which are Burundi and Rwanda” – Hon. James Musomi, Rwanda Minister for Finance when presiding over the Official Launch of ECASSA in Kigali, 31st March, 2007.
The increasing awareness and recognition of the fundamental rights of each individual for social security, the increasing vulnerability of the East and Central African citizens, the changing business environment and the need to improve quality of social security validates the need to foster cooperation in the development of social security in the region. An analysis of social protection regimes in almost all the East and Central Africa countries show that they are insurance-oriented and focus on those people who are employed in the formal sector. It therefore tends to be very categorical and exclusionary especially as far as the personal sphere of coverage is concerned. A few benefit, while large pockets of people generally and especially informal workers are excluded from protection.
The Association has just concluded its first strategic planning cycle in which significant achievements were realized, challenges faced and opportunities unearthed. Despite its remarkable rapid growth in the last few years, whether in terms of its membership growth, resource mobilization, service portfolio, or its human resource capacity, certain aspects of the Association requires strengthening to enable it continue playing its vital role and cope with the changing operating environment. For instance, the growth in its membership has not been as rapid as desired and its intention to influence policy and provide thought leadership in social security development within the region is without much impact. Majority of Social Security institutions require institutional strengthening and capacity building to enhance social security delivery. An eminent need for ECASSA to enhance its mandate in building and strengthening the capacity of social security institutions to deliver social security services and be responsive to the changes in their operating environment is critical. This will necessitate the Association to enhance its own internal capacity and increase its country presence and visibility in the region.
The Association has made a strategic decision to review the manner in which it conducts its business, the way it is structured, its human resource capabilities and the way it assesses its own performance in order to exploit emerging business opportunities and address known concerns. To this end, ECASSA will pursue a number of strategic objectives and strategies in fostering cooperation of social security players in developing social security in the region.