The Status of Unemployment Insurance Policies in Africa
"Unemployment can simply be defined as the number of people who are willing but are unable to find employment. Official governmental statistics, however, express unemployment as a percentage of the total available workforce, and this varies greatly on the basis of economic and social circumstances. For this reason, two definitions of unemployment are used : the ‘narrow’ definition of unemployment which includes only those who are willing to work and are actively searching for employment; and the ‘broad’ definition of unemployment which includes those who are willing to work but are not searching; this includes those who may have given up hope of finding employment. The International Labour Organisation (ILO) defines unemployment as comprising all persons above a certain age without paid work or self-employment, who at the time of assessment were available for work (in paid employment or in self- employment), and who at the specified time of assessment had taken specific steps to seek employment or selfemployment. For purposes of this paper, unemployment insurance, meant to relieve the socio-economic burdens of those who fit the narrow definition of unemployment, will be discussed concurrently with social security which can be seen as a complimentary benefit, meant to relieve the socio-economic burdens of those who fit both the narrow and broad definitions of unemployment. The ILO (1994) defines social security as ‘the protection that society provides to individuals and households to ensure access to health care, and guarantee income security in cases of old age, unemployment, sickness, invalidity, maternity or loss of a breadwinner’."