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An Impact Evaluation of Digital Cash Transfers Scheme on Income Poverty in Nigeria

Nwaobi, Godwin (2023): An Impact Evaluation of Digital Cash Transfers Scheme on Income Poverty in Nigeria.


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Just as the African economy is confronting its sharpest reversal in a generation; Nigeria is currently faced with perhaps the most challenging economic downturn (amidst fuel subsidy removal) in its history. Thus, social protection programmes in the form of social cash transfers to vulnerable households and individuals have been adopted at an unprecedented scale across these economies. Specifically, this sector is emerging in Nigeria as the government recognizes the need to address not only deficits in the supply of services but also demand – side issues. In fact, despite positive economic growth, alarming number of Nigeria’s population lives in poverty. Although income inequality is just one dimension of poverty in Nigeria; poverty and vulnerability are highly influenced by social and other related factors. Here, patterns of poverty vary particularly by geographic location and maybe influenced by socio-cultural and religious norms as well as the prevalence of conflict and instability. Consequently, the ability to deliver and implement cash transfers is a key determinant as to whether they are an achievable social protection instrument in the country. While there is significant evidence on the impact of such programs on improving specific outcomes, there is limited evidence on their cost effectiveness as compared with other types of interventions. Thus, understanding the costs and benefits of implementing these programs is critically important in Nigeria where distributing cash involves significant logistical, operational and security costs. Therefore, this raises the fundamental question as to what extent payment digitization truly benefits the recipients of social cash transfers. Using randomized control trial (RCT) models on selected states from the six geo–political zones of Nigeria; this research paper shall provide workable evidence for policy decisions.

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