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Are Cash Transfers the answer for children in Sub-Saharan Africa? A Literature Review


  • James Manley

    (Department of Economics, Eastern Michigan University)

  • Vanya Slavchevska

    (Consultant, Gender Analysis, FAO, Rome, Italy.)


Early evidence has been ambiguous on the effects of cash transfer programmes on children, but little has focused on Africa. We review the literature on twenty cash transfer schemes, including twelve from Sub-Saharan Africa. Such interventions have shown improvements in household diet and in some cases to agriculture, but have not always improved child health. However, a larger perspective focusing on the first 1000 days of life reveals more opportunities for impact. In particular the opportunity to empower young women to get secondary education and cut adolescent pregnancy rates can improve the health of African children. Cash transfer programmes seem cost effective, though they are not without flaws.

Suggested Citation

  • James Manley & Vanya Slavchevska, 2016. "Are Cash Transfers the answer for children in Sub-Saharan Africa? A Literature Review," Working Papers 2016-12, Towson University, Department of Economics, revised Jun 2016.
  • Handle: RePEc:tow:wpaper:2016-12

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    Cited by:

    1. Winters, P. & Gitter, S.R. & Manley, J. & Bernstein, B., 2017. "IFAD RESEARCH SERIES 18 - Do agricultural support and cash transfer programmes improve nutritional status?," IFAD Research Series 280056, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
    2. Pei‐An Liao & Hung‐Hao Chang & Yi‐Ju Su, 2020. "Cash transfer program and child underweight—Empirical evidence from a causal mediation analysis," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 51(2), pages 291-303, March.

    More about this item


    Social protection; cash transfers; Sub-Saharan Africa; child health; adolescent health.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • Q15 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Land Ownership and Tenure; Land Reform; Land Use; Irrigation; Agriculture and Environment
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • I15 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Economic Development
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth

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