The COVID-19 pandemic has affected global economic activity and continues to imperil the livelihoods of many. The effects of the pandemic on the poor in developing countries may be particularly severe, as many citizens are already vulnerable and largely without access to formal government social protection. In this context, many cost-effective and rapidly scalable mechanisms have emerged to extend social support during this crisis. Mobile money transfers are a relatively low transaction-cost method to send funds with minimal social contact and are being used in many countries to assist with expanded social protection.
One year into the pandemic, what does the data suggest regarding the effectiveness of mobile money transfers to enhance social protection and encourage social distancing?
On June 17 in a virtual roundtable, researchers Christopher Udry and Robert Darko Osei discussed the results of a study commissioned by the International Growth Centre, in partnership with IPA, that evaluates a mobile cash transfer program in Ghana that was launched in mid-2020 as a result of the pandemic. The program provided transfers of approximately GHC120 (US$20) per month for a period of six months. Government representatives identified the policy implications of the study, and how governments can utilize mobile money cash transfers during crises.
This webinar is part of IPA's RECOVR Webinar Series: Bringing Evidence to COVID-19 Policy Responses in the Global South. Together with our partners, we are using this series to rapidly share what we are learning with the policy and research community to support evidence-informed response efforts. More information about other events in the series is available here.
- Mr. Patrick Nomo, Chief Director, Ministry of Finance
- Rita Owusu-Amankwah, Ministry of Gender, Children, and Social Protection, Ghana
- Christopher Udry, King Professor of Economics, Northwestern University
- Robert Darko Osei, Associate Professor, Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research, University of Ghana