The “WURI West Africa Prize” has been launched by the the World Bank Group to seek innovative solutions that augment inclusion of informal workers in social protection through flexible benefits platforms and identification systems.
The Challenge offers cash prizes totaling US$150,000 for the most promising ideas that help countries to include informal workers in shock-responsive social protection programs.
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World Bank Global Director for the Social Protection and Jobs Global Practice, Michal Rutkowski said, “The informal sector faces distinct challenges such as irregular and low incomes. Social insurance programs designed to meet the needs of these workers, such as allowing flexible contributions and withdrawals, would increase coverage and help enable governments to provide prompt relief payments to these groups during crises.”
World Bank Director of Regional Integration for Africa, Deborah Wetzel said, “Foundational unique identification systems such as those supported by the WURI Program can play an important role in delivering and managing social protection programs and promoting cross-border responses by linking national systems.”
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Individuals and organizations with a strong passion for developing innovative solutions are encouraged to apply. Submitted solutions to the Challenge will be reviewed by experts in social protection platforms, digital identification and international development.
Finalists will receive mentorship and support from Google Developers Experts and be invited to a high-level Mission Billion event to present their solutions to distinguished judges in October 2020.
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The West Africa Unique Identification for Regional Integration and Inclusion (WURI) program facilitates access to services through foundational identification platforms for all persons in participating territories. The Mission Billion Challenge is hosted by the World Bank’s Identification for Development (ID4D) initiative. The WURI West Africa Prize is supported by ID4D, Rapid Social Response Program (RSR) and Disruptive Technologies for Development (DT4D).
The 2020 Mission Billion Challenge comes at a time of an unprecedented global crisis. The pandemic highlights the importance of platforms (such as foundational IDs, government to person (G2P) payments, and social registries) to quickly scale up or to introduce new social protection programs. Countries with such platforms have been able to efficiently deliver relief payments to informal workers, migrant workers, and other vulnerable populations who are difficult to identify and not commonly included in social safety nets.
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Half a billion people in Sub Saharan Africa lack access to foundational identification and to social protection programs. The World Bank’s Mission Billion and Africa Regional Integration Department call for innovative solutions to this development challenge.
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