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Jairous Joseph Miti: Extension of social security to informal economy should consider social and economic contexts

Tampereen yliopisto
SijaintiArvo Ylpön katu 34, Tampere
Kaupin kampus, Arvo, auditorio F114 ja etäyhteys.
Ajankohta23.5.2024 9.00–13.00
PääsymaksuMaksuton tapahtuma
Ihmishahmo tohtorinhattu päässään, musta siluetti violetin kuultamalla taustalla.
In his doctoral dissertation, Jairous Joseph Miti analysed the extension of social security to informal economy workers in the low- and middle-income country context of Zambia. Out of a national population of about 19 million people, the informal economy accounts for 76% of Zambia’s labour force. Miti found that there are factors that hinder and facilitate this category of workers to register for social security. In this context, disasters, and pandemics such as the COVID-19, threaten the ability and willingness of informal economy workers to contribute to social security schemes.

In 2019, Zambia enacted the Statutory Instrument No. 72 of 2019 act which provided the legal basis for the country’s National Social Security Scheme Authority (NAPSA) to extend its coverage to informal economy as groups that did not historically have coverage due to administrative and legal factors. This was followed by a series of pilot activities supported by the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL). Jairous Joseph Miti was a member of the technical team and worked closely with THL and other partners during this period.

Based on the theory of diffusion of innovation, Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research (CFIR) and the ecological systems theory, the dissertation shows the importance of observability, compatibility, and relative advantage of the scheme if informal economy workers are to embrace social security as an innovation. It also shows how an occurrence of a phenomenon such as a pandemic may affect the livelihoods of informal economy workers that already grapple with a lack of access to social security.

The findings of the study — which was conducted among domestic workers, bus and taxi drivers, and small-scale dairy farmers in Zambia — show that some informal economy workers cannot register for social security due to the complex registration system and their lack of knowledge of social security, short-term benefits, trust in social security institutions, equipment and materials, and inadequate human resources, and policy makers’ lack of local knowledge.

The study shows, for example, that some of the key concerns of people in the informal economy include boosting their trade, meeting consumption needs as well as the provision of required supplies for the education of children, and healthcare needs. A scheme that integrates and meets such aspirations is likely to be attractive. At the same time, the results of the study also show gaps in other existing social service areas, such as education and health.

The adoption of social security as a social innovation among informal economy workers would require addressing some of these challenges. To this effect, Miti proposes a member-centred approach in the design and implementation of social security schemes. His study is the first in Zambia to rigorously analyse the extension of social security. It also contributes to the corpus of knowledge relevant for epistemic communities and influences policy in the field of social security.

Public defence on Thursday 23 May

Jairous Joseph Miti’s doctoral dissertation in the field of global health and development, Extension of Social Security to Informal Economy in Zambia, will be publicly examined at the Faculty of Social Sciences, Tampere University at 12.00 o’clock on Thursday 23 May 2024. The venue is auditorium F114 of the Arvo building, address Arvo Ylpön katu 34, Tampere. The Opponent will be Professor Phakama Ntshogwana of Nelson Mandela University, South Africa. The Custos will be Professor Salla Atkins of Tampere University, Finland.

The doctoral dissertation is available online.

The public defence can be followed via a remote connection.