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Shortfalls in Social Spending in Low- and Middle-Income Countries

COVID-19 and Shrinking Finance for Social Spending
(Past event)

Event type: Webinar

Related research: Social protection and cash transfers

events17 February 2022time15:00 - 16:00 CET

Join researchers, experts, educators, and policymakers for a one-hour virtual policy panel discussion on Shortfalls in Social Spending Worldwide.

A new report from UNICEF, ‘Shortfalls in Social Spending in Low- and Middle-Income Countries. COVID-19 and Shrinking Finance for Social Spending’ argues that, in order to meet the rights of all to basic social services, greater mobilisation of both domestic and international resources will be needed to boost social spending in the wake of COVID-19. It calculates that low-and middle-income countries will need to spend an additional 0.9% of GDP on education; 4.7% of GDP on health; and 0.6% of GDP on social protection. Failure to meet these targets is currently resulting in annual shortfalls of, on average, $281 per child (education); $513 per capita (health); $66 per capita (social assistance).

However, the fiscal space to achieve adequate spending on social services remains constrained in many countries. Join us as our experts discuss how to approach this challenge, bolster finance for the SDGs and address widening inequalities post COVID-19.


  • Dave Coady is Assistant Director and Division Chief of the Expenditure Policy Division at the Fiscal Affairs Department of the IMF. Prior to joining the IMF, he was Research Fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute and held academic positions at the University of London. He earned his Ph.D. in economics from the London School of Economics in 1992. His research interests include development and public economics, and he has worked extensively on policy issues related to the efficiency and distributional implications of public policies including indirect taxes, public sector pricing, social spending, the evaluation of safety net programs, and age-related spending.
  • Gwen Hines was appointed CEO of Save the Children in July 2021, after having joined the charity in 2018 as Executive Director of Global Programmes in March 2018. She has worked in international development for 20 years, most recently as International Programmes Director at the Department for International Development (DFID), where she led the Multilateral Development Review, benchmarking 41 organisation and identifying areas for improvement. Prior to that she was UK Executive Director for the World Bank Group (2012-2015), where she helped to broker major reforms to the Bank's procurement and evaluation policies and provided oversight of Britain's $5bn funding. Gwen has also held the post of Country Director for DFID in Bangladesh and Malawi, and she has played a variety of strategic roles shaping the UK's engagement with Africa through the G8, DFID's strategy on HIV/AIDS, and approaches to EU enlargement.
  • Djanabou Mahonde is UNICEF Representative to Benin since January 2021, where she leads advocacy efforts on Public Finance for Children in Benin, particularly on citizen participation in budgeting processes and ensuring child-friendly government budgets. Prior to her nomination as UNICEF Representative to Benin, she acted as UNICEF Senior Adviser for Generation Unlimited in Africa, a global multi-sector partnership to help every young person successfully transition from education and training to decent work. From 2016 to 2019, she was UNICEF Representative to Djibouti. Djanabou Mahondé joined UNICEF in 2006 as Regional Child Protection in Emergencies Specialist, before overseeing the planning, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of UNICEF child protection programmes in Nepal, Niger and Ethiopia. She also worked in post conflict settings such as in Liberia and Sierra Leone and brings over 20 years of experience in international cooperation including with UNICEF, UNDP and GIZ. She holds a Master of International Humanitarian Aid from the University of Ruhr and a Master of Sociology from the University of Braunschweig in Germany.
  • Dominic Richardson leads Social Policy and Economic Analysis at UNICEF, Office of Research – Innocenti, where he oversees work on cash transfers and cash plus programmes in sub-Saharan Africa, multiple overlapping deprivation analysis, the Innocenti Report Card Series, and research on family policies and child well-being. He previously worked with OECD Social Policy Division on a broad range of studies covering child well-being, evaluating family policies, integrating human services, and social impact investment. Dominic has led or co-authored multiple reports on comparative child well-being in high-income countries, and in 2014, was the lead researcher on a joint EC OECD project evaluating the content and quality of international surveys of school children in high and middle- income countries. In 2018, Dominic was awarded the Jan Trost Award for Outstanding Contributions in International Family Studies by the National Council for Family Relations in the United States.
  • David Anthony managed policy analysis at UNICEF New York and supervised the development of UNICEF’s flagship publications including The State of the World’s Children Report. He has extensive experience in managerial and strategy development, partnerships and engagement at setting policy agendas and in translating them into practical avtion and results. Throughout his career he has successfully brought fresh thinking and strategies to some of the world’s leading organizations, including the EU and The Economist. David holds a Master of Science in Economics, University of London and Bachelor of Arts in Economics, University of East Anglia.
  • Natalia Winder-Rossi, Director of Social Policy and Social Protection at UNICEF Headquarters in New York, has been leading UNICEF’s social policy programming at the global level and oversees the organization’s work on child poverty, social protection, public finance management for children and local governance & Urban since May 2020. She brings more than 15 years of social policy and social protection experience in various global and regional roles, including with FAO, Rome. She is a national of Peru, and holds Master degrees of Science in Foreign Service (International Development), and of Science in Social Policy (Research and Evaluation).




Dominic Richardson
Chief, Social and Economic Policy

UNICEF Innocenti

David Anthony
Chief, Strategic Planning and Convening

UNICEF Innocenti

Natalia Winder Rossi
Director, Social Policy and Social Protection, UNICEF
Gwen Hines
Chief Executive Officer, Save the Children UK
Djanabou Mahonde
Representative, UNICEF Benin
Dave Coady
Assistant Director, Fiscal Affairs Department, IMF


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