Thirty ideas shaking up Africa

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From The Africa Report, Thirty ideas shaking up Africa:

It may be the simplest innovation, but it seems that the best way to improve a person’s livelihood is just to give him some money. That is the conclusion of a study conducted by Christopher Blattman, Nathan Fiala and Sebastian Martinez in northern Uganda in May. They traced the activities of about 2,500 people who received a grant of $400 from the government and found that capital constraints, rather than a lack of education or some other factor, are the main obstacles to fighting poverty and reducing unemployment.

With the success of conditional cash transfers in Brazil—where the government provides families with money when they ensure that children are vaccinated or attend school regularly, for example—African governments are rolling out their own. A World Bank study from 2012 identified some 120 such programmes in sub-Saharan Africa between 2000 and 2009. The bank hopes that programmes such as the Hunger Safety Net Programme in Kenya and similar programmes in the Horn of Africa and the Sahel will provide financial help for families. Developing cash transfer programmes like this could also transform the relationship between state and society. more

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