Fostering Resilience: How Mobile Money Transformed Crisis Response in Cameroon

Submitted by pmassetti on Fri, 02/02/2024 - 15:55
Body (29.01.2024) In early 2020, Cameroon had a well-established safety net. The Social Safety Net Project had reached almost 10% of the poor (140,000 households) with either cash transfers or, mainly for youth, temporary employment through public works. More broadly, the project had put in place robust systems to identify beneficiaries, monitor implementation, and handle complaints. While it had recently expanded support to refugees, it remained focused on addressing chronic poverty rather than responding to crises. The COVID-19 pandemic provided the impetus for change. To mitigate adverse economic effects, the government launched an emergency cash transfer program in urban areas. The goal was to provide income support to 80,000 informal sector workers affected by social distancing restrictions. Yet, it soon became apparent that more agile mechanisms were needed to distribute the aid timely and safely. The government decided that, for the first time, the transfers would be made digitally into beneficiaries’ mobile money accounts rather than in cash. 

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