Policy highlights:

  • Cash transfers have grown in popularity in Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa since the 1990s. The features of cash transfer programmes are shaped by institutional, political and socioeconomic factors and so they vary according to the context.
  • Cash transfers in Latin America mostly aim at reducing the intergenerational transmission of poverty within households via large structural programmes. In Sub-Saharan Africa, cash transfers are often used as short-term solutions in times of food, fuel and health crises. As these cash transfers are often provided by a broad range of development organizations, programmes are often fragmented.
  • In both contexts, cash transfers were found to have a positive effect on the health, education and nutrition of children within beneficiary families. Challenges that remain are financial sustainability, administrative capacity and social services provision.
  • In Sub-Saharan Africa, donors can contribute to more effective cash transfer programmes by encouraging governments to engage in large-scale and long-term interventions.
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