Farah Ghazal

Over the past two years, governments worldwide have had to reckon with a global pandemic, the devastating effects of which continue to this day. Part of this reckoning has included a reconsideration, creation or fortification of social protection (SP) policies. In Egypt, efforts towards enhancing SP had already been underway amid economic restructuring plans mandated by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as a condition for a USD12 billion loan in 2016 (IMF, 2016). The agreed-upon program mandated a devaluation of the Egyptian pound, increased taxes, as well as often abrupt removals of fuel and electricity subsidies, all of which have had massive implications for the Egyptian economy and public (Gad, 2021).

Against this backdrop, this article suggests a particular route to SP through which the country could better realize its development goals, referred to as transformative SP. In simple terms, a transformative approach to SP is informed by the position that the theory underlying SP often instructs resulting policy directions and decisions. Rather than a myopic focus on basic socio-economic priorities, a transformative approach combines “universalist social-welfare programmes, steeply progressive taxation, macroeconomic policies aimed at creating full employment, a large non-market public sector, significant public and/or collective ownership, and democratic decision-making” (Fraser, 1995; quoted in Hickey, 2014, p. 333). A central feature of transformative SP, and the focus of this article, is the often-overlooked relationship between employment policies and SP policies/measures.

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