Khaled Nasri, Mohamed Amara, and Imane Helmai

  • Tunisia’s social protection system is well designed and features contributory schemes for a large portion of the working population and their dependents as well as non-contributory schemes for the poor and vulnerable.
  • The country’s social protection system also faces a number of challenges, including improving effective coverage, reducing inequalities in parallel schemes, improving the effectiveness of targeted programs, and expanding support for the unemployed and other excluded categories.
  • The contributory social insurance for pension and other kinds of benefits covers public and private sector workers against risks associated with old age, invalidity, survivorship, accidents at work, and occupational diseases. Public and private sector workers and their dependents are covered by the contributory health insurance system as well.
  • Other than universal energy and food subsidy programs, Tunisia provides cash transfers and free or discounted medical assistance to needy and low-income families, people with disabilities, and children without family support.
  • The existence of different contributory schemes by occupation has led to a series of inequities that give some groups more benefits than others. Moreover, the unequal distribution of medical services, the quasi-absence of specialized doctors, and the lack of medications in public hospitals seriously limit the effectiveness of healthcare in the interior regions.
  • Social insurance in Tunisia does not cover informal workers or women workers who do not have permanent employers in rural areas, nor does it not protect workers from unemployment. Although nondiscriminatory in principle, Tunisian social security excludes temporary migrants and undocumented migrants.
  • Many people who were entitled to receive benefits from social safety nets in Tunisia did not receive them, while others who were less in need received multiple benefits.

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