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Learn how cash transfer programmes improve lives in sub-Saharan Africa and share the infographics

Did you know that cash transfer (CT) programmes in countries of the sub-Saharan Africa actually have a significant impact?

22 Jan 2014

Did you know that cash transfer (CT) programmes in countries of the sub-Saharan Africa actually have a significant impact? In Malawi, these programmes helped families invest in agricultural equipment and livestock to produce their own food and reduce levels of negative coping strategies, like begging and school drop-outs. In Kenya, secondary school attendance rose by 9 percent and access to preventive health care services went up by 10 percent.

An increasingly popular development initiative, social protection programmes, give out cash to increase household consumption while encouraging and aiding in investment in child education and health.

For developing countries social protection systems are relatively new. What has really grown over the last 20 years is the extension of these programmes to those parts of the population who are living in extreme poverty.

In the past decade, a growing number of African governments have launched CT programmes to provide assistance to households that are ultra-poor, labour-constrained or caring for orphaned and vulnerable children.

Cash transfers are particularly relevant to both tracks of FAO’s twin track approach as they reduce hunger and vulnerability immediately, while at the same time providing financial potential for household investments in productive activities.

FAO, alongside UNICEF and six countries in sub-Saharan African the region, started the From Protection to Production (PtoP) project looking to support governments in improving the design and implementation of CT programmes by providing analysis and information on the economic impacts of such programmes. We are also advising and training policy makers and programme managers on how to improve the impact of CT programmes and how they can be combined with other agriculture interventions.

FAO work with governments to understand the impacts of social protection programmes and also what is the dimension of more classic agriculture interventions. We assist governments think how policies go together and how they can be better articulated for more comprehensive rural development strategies.

Households can use the cash immediately to increase their incomes, while at the same time increasing the income of other households in the same community, for example by buying and exchanging goods and products. Let’s say that for every dollar transferred to households benefitting from the programmes, the income generated in the local community can go up to two dollars or more.

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