Multi-donor Research Platform on Social Protection, Financial Inclusion and ICTs
Having little or no savings can be devastating for poor families. In a crisis, it can force households to cut consumption, take out usurious loans or deplete business income. Access to financial services plays a critical role in helping the poor broaden their economic opportunities, increase their asset base and reduce their vulnerability to external shocks. Many Latin Americans have little access to formal financial services. In Peru, for example, less than 1% of households in extreme poverty have savings accounts.
Over the past 10 years, conditional cash transfers (CCT) to families have been implemented on a large scale. There have been some experiments linking a financial inclusion component to CCT programs, either by opening savings accounts in which to deposit the transfer or through specific savings promotion programs targeting social transfer recipients.
Through a series of calls for proposals, this project will examine whether social protection policies can serve as a tool for economic empowerment via the use of financial services such as deposits, credit and microinsurance. It will also look at the role of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in providing such services. Most of the studies will focus on pilot initiatives developed in conjunction with CCT programs in the region, and thus have significant potential for informing and influencing future policy and program design.