The Transformative Potential of Public Employment Programmes
 
Kate Phillip, from the University of Cape Town explores the longstanding debate on the role of employment in society and   the market scope for achieving full employment. Developing nations such as India, South Africa and Ethiopia have introduced innovative approaches to public employment.  These innovations have delivered unanticipated opportunities for change, impacting on social and economic policies. They have shifted public employment programmes into much needed new policy territory.
 
India introduced the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act of 1995-the largest public employment programme in history.  It responds to the country’s seasonal unemployment and underemployment challenges.  Ethiopia has also introduced the Productive Safety Nets Programme which offers work to those who can work and cash transfers to those who cannot. These programmes and South Africa’s Community Work Programme, which is a new component of the Expanded Public Works Programme, unlock development participation at community level, uncovering new levels of transparency and information access as well as driving new forms of financial inclusion. 
 
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