Investing in free universal childcare in sub-Saharan Africa: Côte d’Ivoire, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, and the United Republic of Tanzania

Access to quality formal services in early childhood care and education (ECCE) plays a crucial role from the perspective of two stakeholders: children as receivers of care and parents as primary providers of care.

This study contributes to the policy debate on ECCE expansion—particularly from a fiscal policy perspective that focuses on potential short-run economic returns.

The report focuses on the following three areas:

  1. Estimating the running cost of providing universal childcare. Using country-specific data, the methodology generates an estimated cost of providing universal childcare for a typical group-based facility in the public sector, with a mix of ages reflecting the children’s population.
  2. Estimating the employment effects on women and men. While the provision of childcare is helping meet a need for families, public investments in social care services also have the potential to generate millions of decent jobs, both in the care sector itself and in other sectors through backward linkages, reduced unemployment, and increased labour force participation and growth. Using country-specific data, the methodology generates employment projections for men and women, showing that between 56 and 67 per cent of the jobs will benefit women.
  3. Estimating the fiscal effects of the jobs created by investing in childcare. Investing in social care infrastructure not only generates decent jobs for women, but also boosts government revenue through an expansion of the tax base, guaranteeing the long-term sustainability of the initial investment.

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