Responses to the financial impacts of COVID-19 through social cash transfers and digital payment infrastructure

The financial impact of COVID-19 has been hitting the poor. Governments are adjusting cash transfer programs and utilizing national payment systems to mitigate these negative impacts. This blog reviews responses from Latin America, Asia and Sub Saharan Africa where governments with limited resources are coming up with innovative solutions to the crisis.

Women’s Access to Cash Transfers in Light of COVID-19: The Case of Pakistan

Around the world, cash transfer programs are being implemented by governments in response to COVID-19. Pakistan introduced the Ehsaas Emergency Cash Program, which requires mobile phones and national IDs to register. Using data from the 2018 Financial Inclusion Insights survey, we estimate large gender gaps in mobile phone ownership and national ID possession, leaving women are at risk of being disproportionately excluded from the program. To address this, the government should ensure women are more purposefully targeted, perhaps by reserving more slots for women or prioritizing women’s registrations.