• A growing number of developing countries are investing in social safety nets – to improve the lives and livelihoods of billions of poor and vulnerable people. Safety net programs include cash and in-kind transfers targeted to poor and vulnerable households, with the goal of protecting families from the impact of economic shocks, natural disasters, and other crises.

    Yet in low-income countries around one in five of the world’s poor still lack safety net coverage.

    Safety nets benefits as a share of the poor’s income and consumption are lowest in low-income countries, at only 13 percent. Sub-Saharan African countries spend an average of US$16 per citizen annually on safety net programs, whereas countries in the Latin America and the Caribbean region spend an average of US$158 per citizen annually. Globally, developing and transition countries spend an average of 1.5 percent of GDP on safety net programs.

    Evidence now shows how safety nets cash transfers not only help nations invest in human capital, but also serve as a source of income for the poor, improving their standard of living.  Today, some 2.5 billion people are covered by safety net programs and some 650 million people or 56 percent of the poorest quintile.

    Last Updated: Apr 05, 2018

  • The World Bank supports sustainable and affordable safety net programs that protect families from shocks; help ensure that children grow up healthy, well-fed, and stay in school and learn; empower women and girls; and create jobs. Building sustainable and affordable safety nets in each developing country is a key component of the World Bank’s Social Protection and Labor Strategy 2012-2022, which is helping countries move from fragmented programs to affordable social protection systems that enable individuals to manage risk and improve resilience by investing in human capital and improving people’s ability to access jobs.

    The World Bank works with countries to develop country-tailored tools and approaches; strengthen countries’ capacity to integrate, administer, and evaluate social protection programs invest in knowledge, data, and analysis; and provide “on-time” policy advice and continuous technical assistance and capacity-building.

    The World Bank supports a diverse set of safety net interventions, ranging from cash transfers to public works to school feeding programs. In low-income countries, the Rapid Social Response program is instrumental in addressing capacity constraints, developing effective delivery systems and communicating results.

    Last Updated: Apr 05, 2018

  • Social safety nets have positive and significant impacts on education, health, and food security, but also promote households’ ability to generate income that can lead to positive effects in local economies.

    • To respond to the extreme drought in the Southern Africa region, cash transfers have become the primary response to support the recovery of disaster-affected population in Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi and Mozambique.
    • Ethiopia’s Productive Safety Net Program reaches about eight million people poor and chronically food insecure households in the country. Analysis shows that the direct effect of payments reduces poverty by 7%.
    • In Madagascar, with support from the World Bank's Fund for the Poorest (IDA), cash transfers were provided to more than 80,000 poor households, while promoting nutrition, early childhood development, children school attendance and productive activities of families.
    • In Peru, the Juntos cash transfer program helped address chronic malnutrition, reducing childhood stunting rate in half in just 8 years, from 28% in 2008 to 13% in 2016.
    • In the Philippines, the country’s conditional cash transfer program has reached 4.4 million families, covering 21% of the population. The program has successfully kept poor children in school. And for children who are part of the program, it helped reduce stunting by 10%.

    Last Updated: Apr 05, 2018


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