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Global Development Institute

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Building a case for increased investments in Social Protection in Uganda

In recent years, many low and middle income countries have initiated social protection programs in order to reduce poverty, vulnerability and inequality. Many evaluation and impact assessments have been conducted that provide evidence on the positive short-term impacts of social protection interventions on the lives of recipients.

As such non-contributory social protection interventions, such as Social Cash Transfers, have often been seen as safety net for the poor and vulnerable which is considered as a pure expense of the government and its funding partners.

While there is yet limited empirical evidence, scholars and policymakers have however made ‘the economic case for investments in non-contributory social protection’. Specifically, it has been suggested that in the long run non-contributory social protection contributes to inclusive growth indirectly and through various proximate, intermediate and ultimate pathways.

This project is collaboration between The University of Maastricht, Makarere University and The University of Manchester. The Global Development Institute’s Professor Armando Barrientos and Daniele Malerba will be working on the project. The project is funded by funded by NWO-WOTRO Science for Global Development.

The research will grapple with three specific questions:

  1. What are the potential effects of the Social Assistance Grants for Empowerment (SAGE) and its costs? 
  2. Would alternative social protection programs be more cost-effective in achieving human capital development and productive asset accumulation compared to SAGE?
  3. Do SAGE transfers produce local economy effects?