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MISSION BILLION CHALLENGE 2020; PRIZE

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DEADLINE TO SUBMIT A SOLUTIONAugust 14, 2020Submit a Solution

Challenge Overview

The Mission Billion Challenge WURI West Africa Prize seeks sustainable, tech-based solutions that facilitate portable contributions to social insurance programs, such as pensions and savings accounts, by informal sector workers in West Africa.

Examples of similar innovations include:

Digital Informal Savings Circles ‘Tontines’ pilot in BeninJipange KuSave pilot in KenyaSavings and insurance products developed by a startup in South AfricaRelated: Government schemes for the informal sector such as Haba Haba and Mbao in Kenya, Ejo Heza LTSS in Rwanda, Micro Pension Plan in Nigeria, ECIS Project in Zambia.

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The informal sector in West Africa is a primary driver of economic activity. In Sub-Saharan Africa, 89 percent of employed women and girls are in the informal sector workforce, which accounts for 80 percent of total employment and 55 percent of total GDP. The irregular and low earnings of informal workers leave them particularly vulnerable to economic shocks, including the COVID-19 pandemic, locust epidemics, or displacement.

However, individuals in the informal sector often fall through the cracks of existing social protection programs. They are often not poor enough to be eligible for social safety net benefits; and, being outside of the formal economy, are ineligible for social insurance programs mandated for the formal sector. They thus constitute the “missing middle”. Many informal jobs require migration throughout the region, including across borders. And although the sector encompasses a diverse range of occupations at varying skill and income levels, many workers are not financially, digitally, or otherwise literate.

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