Panel: Are Cash Transfers a Silver Bullet? Evidence from Africa
(Social Equity)

Saturday, November 8, 2014: 8:30 AM-10:00 AM
San Juan (Convention Center)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Panel Organizers:  Sudhanshu Handa, UNICEF
Panel Chairs:  Fred Ssewamala, Columbia University
Discussants:  Paul Winters, American University

Poverty remains a major global threat, cited as the underlying driver of outcomes as wide ranging as child malnutrition, emigration, climate change and terrorism. In the developing world, Africa remains the region with the highest rates of poverty and extreme poverty. Meanwhile, on the policy side, anti-poverty initiatives have increasingly moved towards providing cash, whether conditional or unconditional, rather than subsidies, services or other in-kind forms of support, and many independent development organizations (e g. Center for Global Development) and large bilateral donors (UKAID) are challenging the global development community to make ‘cash’ the gold standard in terms of poverty alleviation programming. This session brings together four papers from the Transfer Project, a multi-country research initiative that measures the impact of cash transfer programs in sub-Saharan Africa. The Transfer Project is spearheaded by UNICEF, the largest child-focused development agency in the world, in partnership with FAO, UNC-CH and Save the Children. The papers present results from rigorous large scale impact evaluations of national cash transfer programs in Zambia, Ghana and South Africa. Together the papers tell a powerful story about the far reaching potential of cash transfers to both mitigate short term effects of poverty, to allow households to reduce risk, and to encourage productive growth amongst the poorest. These programs may indeed be a ‘win-win’ in terms of meeting both growth and equity objectives in economic policy.
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