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The economic impacts of cash transfer programmes in sub-Saharan Africa








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    The local economy impacts of social cash transfers
    A comparative analysis of seven sub-Saharan countries
    2016
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    This article presents findings on the local economy impacts of seven African country SCT programmes evaluated as part of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) “From Protection to Production” (PtoP) project. The countries are Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The PtoP project has facilitated expansion of the evaluations of SCT programmes to include productive and local-economy impacts. Local economy-wide impact evaluation (or LEWIE) employs simulation method s to reveal the full impact of cash transfers on local economies, including spillovers they create to non-beneficiaries. It does this by linking agricultural household models together into a general-equilibrium model of the local economy, in most cases a treated village or village cluster. Our LEWIE analysis finds evidence of significant spillovers, resulting in SCT income multipliers that are considerably greater than one in most cases. Most spillovers accrue to non-beneficiary households. Inte gration with outside markets shifts impacts out of local economies, reducing local income multipliers. Local supply constraints may result in price inflation which creates a divergence of real from nominal income multipliers for beneficiaries as well as non-beneficiaries. The existence of income spillovers reveals that SCT programmes have local economy impacts beyond the treated households, which could yield large benefits for rural developments.
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    Local Economy-wide Impact Evaluation (LEWIE) of Malawi’s Social Cash Transfer (SCT) Programme 2015
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    The Government of Malawi’s (GoM’s) Social Cash Transfer (SCT) Program is an unconditional cash transfer program targeted to ultra-poor, labor constrained households. The objectives of the programme include reducing poverty and hunger in vulnerable households and increasing school enrolment. The program began as a pilot in Mchinji district in 2006. Since 2009, the program has expanded to reach an additional eight districts (Chitipa, Likoma, Machinga, Mangochi, Phalombe, Salima, Thyolo and Balaka) out of 28 total districts in Malawi. The program has gone to full scale in Mchinji, Chitipa and Likoma and by 2012, had reached nearly 30,000 households and approximately 103 000 individuals. The SCT provides a significant infusion of cash into Malawi’s rural economy. When beneficiaries spend the cash transfer, they transmit the impact to others inside and outside the local economy, creating benefits for non-recipient households as well, who often provide the goods and services purchased by be neficiary households. The impact on the local economy was simulated using a LEWIE (Local Economy Wide Impact Evaluation) model. This study finds that the Malawi SCT generates a total income multiplier of 1.25 in nominal terms. Each Mk of transfer generates an additional Mk 0.25 of total income gain within the programme area. That is, each Mk of transfer generates an additional Mk 0.25 of total income gain within the project area. In addition, it creates a gain of Mk 0.68 for trading centres d irectly, because households spend a large share of their incomes there, and indirectly, because retail, service and other production activities taking place in the Village Cluster buy a large share of their inputs there. The SCT programme has significant production impacts. The transfers stimulate the production of crops by Mk 0.31 and livestock by Mk 0.14 per Mk transferred. The largest effect is on the retail sector, where sales increase by Mk 0.60 per Mk transferred to eligible households. M ost of this extra income accrues to non-beneficiary households, who are better off and tend to own more of the local businesses.
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    Local Economy-wide Impact Evaluation (LEWIE) of Ethiopia’s social cash transfer pilot programme 2014
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    The Ethiopia Social Cash Transfer Pilot Programme (SCTPP) was introduced in 2011 in two woredas of the Tigray region by the regional Government with the support of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). The goal of the SCTPP is to “improve the quality of life for vulnerable children, the elderly, and persons with disabilities” in programme households. Although the programme targets the poorest of the poor, the actual benefit to the local economy goes beyond programme beneficiaries. When b eneficiaries spend the cash transfer, they transmit the impact of the programme to others inside and outside the local economy, more often to households not eligible for the cash transfer who tend to own most of the productive assets. The impact of the SCTPP on the local economy was simulated using a LEWIE (Local Economy Wide Impact Evaluation) model applied to the two areas that received the transfer, the tabias of Hintalo-Wajirat and the town of Abi-Adi. The LEWIE model found that each birr d istributed in Hintalo-Wajirat generated an extra 1.52 birr via local market linkages, for a total income multiplier of 2.52. Similarly, each birr distributed in Abi-Adi generated an additional .35 birr, for a total income multiplier of 1.35. Thus the initial transfer of 5.58 million birr in Hintalo-Wajirat and 1.62 million birr in Abi-Adi potentially generated 14.06 million birr and 2.19 million birr respectively. However if credit, capital and other market constraints limit the local supply res ponse, the increase in demand brought about by the cash transfer programme may also lead to increased prices and consequently a lower income multiplier. Simulations incorporating such constraints find a “real” income multiplier of 1.84 birr for Hintalo-Wajirat and 1.26 birr for Abi-Adi. In both cases non-beneficiaries and the local economy as a whole benefit significantly from cash transfer programmes via trade and production linkages. Maximizing the income multiplier may require complementary interventions that target both beneficiary and non-beneficiary families.

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