Uganda’s Senior Citizens’ Grant: A success story from the heart of Africa
Since 2011, a pilot universal old age pension – known as the Senior Citizens’ Grant (SCG) – has been implemented in Uganda. By 2016, there were 125,000 beneficiaries. A number of studies have demonstrated that the scheme has had significant benefits. Despite the general economic situation worsening in many communities, the scheme has brought about a large reduction in poverty among beneficiaries, as well as reductions in the number of households experiencing hunger.
Diets have also improved and there are indications of reductions in wasting among children. Many beneficiaries have used the pension to invest in productive activities, while employment has increased among those working age members in pensioner households. Children have benefited from the generosity of their grandparents in terms of less hunger, improved nutrition and greater access to school.
As a result of the inflow of cash into communities, local markets have become more dynamic, benefitting entrepreneurs while generating greater employment. Importantly, the citizens of Uganda living in communities where the SCG is implemented are now able to live their final years in greater dignity and have been increasingly re-integrated into communities, including receiving more informal support from their relatives. The evidence indicates that the national roll-out of the scheme should be sped up, so that all communities in Uganda can receive the same benefits