Social Cash Transfer Payment Systems in sub-Saharan Africa

Social cash transfers to vulnerable households and individuals have been adopted at an unprecedented scale across sub-Saharan Africa. While most programs initially relied on manual cash disbursements, digital payment technologies have been on the rise since the early 2000s. Through a survey of 130 programs in 44 countries this paper offers a comprehensive overview of payment instruments and providers used in the region. Although cash continues to play a key role in the disbursement of social transfers, the adoption of electronic payments through private companies is increasing and further payment reforms and digitization efforts can be expected.