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Social protection and rural transformation in Africa








Correa, J.S., Daidone, S., Davis, B. & Sitko, N.J. 2023. Social protection and rural transformation in Africa. Rome, FAO.



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    Cash transfer programmes in sub-Saharan Africa impact the productive activities of both beneficiary and non-beneficiary households in the communities where they are implemented. These programmes have led to an increase in agricultural activities in beneficiary households, including greater use of agricultural inputs, more land area in crop production and higher crop output. Beneficiary households have increased ownership of livestock and agricultural tools, as well as a greater tendency to parti cipate in non-farm family enterprises. Moreover, households that receive transfers tend to reallocate their labour away from casual agricultural wage labour to household-managed economic activities. In almost all countries, cash transfers have allowed beneficiary households to avoid negative risk coping strategies and to better manage risk, partly by allowing beneficiaries to ’re-enter’ existing social networks and thus strengthen their informal social protection systems. Finally, cash transfers benefit the wider community, leading to significant income multipliers throughout the local economy. The nature and magnitude of these impacts vary from country to country, however, due to differences in programme design, implementation and context.
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    Evaluating the impacts of cash and complementary agricultural support interventions in fragile settings
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    This study examines the FAO cash plus agriculture program in Somalia. This multi-faceted intervention provides agricultural inputs, training and cash transfers to vulnerable agro-pastoralist households living in districts and villages that experienced severe weather shocks. We exploit variations in the implementation of this program to assess the effect of receiving inputs only and inputs plus cash on a range of protective and productive outcomes. Specifically, we make use of household survey data collected in 2019 and apply a quasi-experimental Inverse Probability Weighted Regression Analysis (IPWRA) matching approach to estimate the impact of the two different interventions on food security, assets, adoption of inputs and adoption of agricultural practices. We find positive and significant impacts on a number of productive outcomes and some difference between the two treatments: while inputs seem to increase asset wealth, cash plus reduces food insecurity and higher levels of income diversification, suggesting that the cash component facilitates investments in livelihoods diversification. Moreover, we find evidence of heterogeneous impacts under conditions of weather shocks, and between socio-economic segments of the population.
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    RuLIS country brief: Malawi
    Malawi Integrated Household Panel Survey 2019–2020
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    RuLIS is a tool to support policies for reducing rural poverty, bringing together harmonized indicators and comparable data across countries and over time on rural incomes, livelihoods and rural development. It includes a set of harmonized household- and individual-level data and indicators on different aspects of livelihoods, including crops and livestock production, off-farm and non-farm income generating activities, households’ composition and demographics, agricultural inputs, technology use, access to social protection, time use, shocks and migration. RuLIS currently includes information from 39 countries, with increasing data coverage in time and space as more micro-data becomes available. RuLIS aims to provide critical information for understanding medium- and long- term trends in the structural transformation of agriculture and rural economies; and for the design of policies that promote and accompany social and economic transformation and enhancement. This brief uses data from the FAO's RuLIS database, which aggregates survey data from the Malawi Integrated Household Panel Survey 2019–2020 (National Statistical Office, 2020) to highlight the results of some key indicators.

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