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«DIREC TIONS IN DE VELOPMENT Human Development Public Disclosure Authorized The Cash Dividend The Rise of Cash Transfer Programs in Sub-Saharan Africa ...»

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Because fiscal limitations in most countries restricted the percentage of the poor population that could be covered by CTs, programs often used vulnerability-focused targeting criteria for inclusion in programs that are relatively easy to identify and are perceived as fair by the general population. Targeting of vulnerable groups may also put less strain on administrative capacity. In some cases, the program’s underlying goal may still be to combat poverty rather than specific vulnerabilities. The more that poverty correlates with certain easily identifiable vulnerability characteristics, the more easily categorical or vulnerability-based targeting can directly attack poverty.6 In practice, the line between poverty-targeted and vulnerability-focused approaches is often blurred.

A vulnerable group commonly targeted in the region includes individuals living in HIV-affected households. Programs focused on these individuals include Burkina Faso’s Pilot CCT-CT program, Kenya’s Cash Transfer for Orphans and Vulnerable Children, Lesotho’s Child Grants Programme, and Senegal’s Conditional Cash Transfer for Orphans and Vulnerable Children. Transfers for people living with disabilities are also commonly given. Middle-income CT programs, such as those found in Namibia and South Africa, often separate disability grants from other transfers. In countries such as Malawi and Zambia, transfers for extremely poor people living with disabilities have been awarded within a broader transfer program focused on households that do not have a member capable of participating in the labor force.

Other vulnerable groups commonly targeted in Sub-Saharan Africa’s CTs (and especially in low-income CTs) are those affected by natural disasters, such as floods. Emergency CTs are commonly given to address victims of these disasters. For example, CARE (Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere) and two Mozambican microfinance institutions gave CTs ranging from US$47 through US$100 in 2000 in response to floods in Mozambique through a program known as Cash Grants for Disaster Response (Meyer 2007). Also in Mozambique, the U.S. Agency for International Development funded a one-time transfer to victims of floods in 2001 (Waterhouse 2007). In 2007, Concern Worldwide and Oxfam GB (2007) administered a program in Zambia for flood victims. These are just several examples of emergency programs The Rise of Cash Transfer Programs in Sub-Saharan Africa 65 addressing victims of natural disasters; others have addressed droughts and flooding in West Africa.

Conflicts or potential conflicts have exacerbated vulnerabilities in some Sub-Saharan African countries, and these conflicts are burdens in themselves. To address vulnerabilities induced by conflicts, some (low-income) programs give CTs to encourage repatriation of refugees and reintegration of former combatants. These programs typically provide a one-off transfer to help individuals who are making a major investment by relocating or beginning a new occupation. In Burundi, a major CT repatriation program was expected to reach more than 50,000 beneficiaries to encourage their repatriation (IRIN 2009). Most of these programs are rather small and are not discussed in detail in this book, but they are known to have been used in Burundi, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Republic of Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Eritrea, Liberia, Mozambique, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, and Togo. The extent of these programs shows the popularity of using CTs in postconflict situations.

Cash Transfers That Target Individuals in Various Life Stages Middle-income and low-income CTs also focused on individuals in various life stages. Similarities were seen in their life-stage focus, but nuances across the middle-income and low-income CTs did emerge. Because each life stage has accompanying risks, often unique to the stage, these programs not only target different age groups, but also may provide different benefits, maintain varying conditions, or even have distinct distribution mechanisms. Major life stages include birth and early childhood, primary school age, secondary school age and young adulthood, adulthood, and old age. The life stages are associated with various vulnerabilities, which may correlate with poverty, though some individuals in each group obviously will not be poor. Figure 2.14 lists some of the vulnerabilities associated with life stages.

The decision to address a specific life stage and its corresponding vulnerabilities is typically based on an analysis of the scope and long-term consequences of the vulnerabilities within the CT’s potential program area. For instance, the long-term impact of a poor diet is greater for a young child than for a young adult or adult male. Moreover, CT programs are not always appropriate for addressing certain vulnerabilities related to life stage. Although adults are vulnerable to lack of employment opportunities, a public works program, rather than a CT, may more adequately address underemployment in labor-capable adults.

Figure 2.14 Life Stages Are Associated with Susceptibility to Specific Vulnerabilities

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A summary of CT programs in Sub-Saharan Africa, classified by the stage of the life cycle they address and the country’s income status, is provided in figure 2.15. Overall, more than one in three programs in SubSaharan Africa specifically target children, young adults, or both; however, this number is approximately one in four for the middle-income CTs, and one in two for the low-income CTs. Most child-focused programs target school-age children, rather than very young children, a surprising result given the major vulnerabilities known to exist in early childhood. The second most common life stage targeted is old age, and targeting is accomplished mainly through social pensions. Middle-income CTs are more likely to target the elderly than are low-income CTs, probably because of the popularity of social pensions in those countries.

Mothers are targeted relatively rarely, and few programs specifically target other life-stage combinations.

The major CT programs in Sub-Saharan Africa that focus on children take varying approaches. For instance, Eritrea has recently started a Figure 2.15 Program Beneficiaries by Countries’ Income Classification

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39% 35% 26% 18% 14% 8% 9% 8% 9%

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Source: Authors’ representation.

Note: Sample size is 57. Programs were not included in this chart if they did not focus on one or more life stages.

For instance, programs targeted to refugees are not included, as they may include individuals in all life stages.

Because many CTs in fragile states do not target individuals in a specific life stage, fragile states are not broken out in this analysis.

68 The Cash Dividend program intended to combat the relatively poor health of mothers and young children in rural areas. Senegal’s Conditional Cash Transfer for Orphans and Vulnerable Children targets one vulnerable group—OVC— by addressing education-related vulnerabilities affecting primary and secondary schoolchildren. Kenya’s Cash Transfer for Orphans and Vulnerable Children also targets OVC while attempting to condition transfers on human capital investment in children’s health and education.

The middle-income CTs tend to award some of the few poverty-focused transfers as grants for children living in poverty.

Most CTs that focus on adult household members determine program eligibility on the basis of household adults’ ability to participate in the labor force. If a household adult has a disability or a chronic debilitating illness, these programs award transfers to the household. If a household adult could participate in the labor force or in a public works program, the household is usually excluded from the CT. This approach has been taken in Malawi and Zambia. Other programs that provide benefits to adults in households in which adults are capable of participating in the labor force tend to focus on the need to use cash for food consumption or to benefit children in the household.

Transfers targeted to the elderly are also common in many parts of Sub-Saharan Africa. Social pension programs typically focus on meeting consumption needs of the elderly or reducing poverty in elderly households. As Kakwani and Subbarao (2005) point out, poverty in many Sub-Saharan African countries tends to be deeper in households with elderly members. In addition, the number of skipped-generation households, in which elderly individuals must care for children without the support of other adults, has increased in the region. Countries sometimes use social pensions to target both the elderly and vulnerable children, because many children in skipped-generation households are OVC.

It is important to note that using social pensions in the hopes of benefiting children is not the most efficient means of targeting children.

Some researchers have used Duflo’s (2003) study, among others, to point out that pensions benefit grandchildren in households. This interpretation is not the main point of Duflo’s study, which instead shows that granddaughters benefit from pensions that their grandmothers, but not grandfathers, receive. (Girls, but not boys, had a significant improvement in anthropometric outcomes.) A program, such as a pension, with a high leakage rate to individuals other than children would be considered poor in terms of its ability to target children.

The Rise of Cash Transfer Programs in Sub-Saharan Africa 69 Conclusions The identified CT programs can be clearly divided into a general typology that is based somewhat loosely on a country’s income levels. Although this framework is useful for painting a high-level picture of how CTs have been used throughout the region, it masks significant differences in program components and implementation issues. These dynamics are the focus of the next chapter, which examines lessons that can already be learned from Sub-Saharan Africa’s experience with CT programs.


1. This is not to say that food transfers are not without merit or that CTs are always superior to in-kind transfers. For instance, an evaluation of one of these programs, the Dedza Safety Nets Pilot Programme, recommended that cash be used in combination with in-kind transfers (Levy, Nyasulu, and Kuyeli 2002). Later evaluations of Ethiopia’s Productive Safety Net Programme have found that beneficiaries preferred food transfers to cash when the value of the cash deteriorated (Sabates-Wheeler and Devereux 2010).

2. Because the Productive Safety Net Programme (PSNP) contains both a public works component and the Direct Support cash transfer, the term PSNP is used here to refer to the entire program, including the public works component. PSNP-DS is used to refer to only the Direct Support component of the PSNP. This distinction is important because much of the literature on the PSNP highlighted in this book refers to the entire program and not simply the CT component.

3. Niño-Zarazúa and others (2010) discuss some of the political dynamics of the earliest transfers in the middle-income Southern African countries.

4. The program is still known to underserve orphans.

5. Authors’ calculation taking April 2009 grant coverage divided by the estimated population for 2009.

6. Despite this tendency, for classification purposes in this book, all programs that focus on vulnerable groups are classified as such, regardless of their motivation.

References African Union. 2008. “Social Policy Framework for Africa.” First Session of the African Union Conference of Ministers in Charge of Social Development, Windhoek, October 27–31.

———. 2009. “Decisions and Declarations.” Executive Council, 14th Ordinary Session, Addis Ababa, January 26–30.

70 The Cash Dividend ———. 2010. “Social Policy Framework for Africa: Implementation Strategy Proposal.” Second Session of the African Union Conference of Ministers in Charge of Social Development, Khartoum, November 21–25.

BFTU (Botswana Federation of Trade Unions). 2007. “Policy Position Paper on Social Security and Social Protection in Botswana.” BFTU, Gaborone.

Concern Worldwide and Oxfam GB. 2007. “Cash Transfers as a Response to Disaster: Lessons from Oxfam GB and Concern Worldwide Responses in Western Zambia.” Oxfam GB, Oxford, U.K. http://www.oxfam.org.uk/ resources/countries/downloads/zambia_cash_transfers_200805.pdf.

Coudouel, Aline, Kene Ezemenari, Margaret Grosh, and Lynne Sherburne-Benz.

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