Over the last few years, social protection policies and programmes have received a lot of emphasis in Africa. This is evident in numerous forums including conferences and workshops specifically convened to discuss diverse social protection themes (read the main messages of these forums here). As a result, in addition to South Africa where implementation of social pensions started as early as in the 1920s, many more countries have formulated national social protection policies and strategies. Clearly, although different countries are at different stages of implementation of social protection policies, social protection programmes are expanding and social spending is increasing. To consolidate the gains that have been made across the continent, there is need to not only look at social protection as a basic right, but also as a means of productive activation to achieve economic development. Furthermore, due to divergence views over social protection, innovative ideas and approaches are needed to ensure that different actors especially researchers and policy makers work together in order for social protection policies to be informed by appropriate evidence.