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Do social protection cash transfers reduce poverty in Rwanda? Evidence from an econometric analysis of Vision Umurenge Program Direct Support

Maurice Nirere

African Development Review, 2022, vol. 34, issue 1, 114-126

Abstract: Countries across the world continue to invest in social protection programs with the goal of ending poverty by 2030. It is important to examine these programs to know whether they are serving the purpose of reducing poverty. In Rwanda, the impact of the Vision Umurenge Program (VUP) regarding poverty‐related outcomes has not been consistently revealed. This leads to uncertainty about the program's effectiveness in achieving the stated goals. This paper intends to fill this gap by estimating the impact of the VUP Direct Support on poverty outcomes. It uses the Propensity Score Matching method to compare the effects of the VUP with a counterfactual outcome. The findings show that the program is benefitting households in response to economic risks. However, the scheme is not lifting them above the national poverty lines. The main contribution of the paper is that it uses a novel method using the latest statistics to evaluate the VUP. In addition, it uses the most recent household data. The study provides a significant contribution to evaluation of the effectiveness of anti‐poverty interventions in Rwanda, as well as the Sub‐Saharan region, where the journey towards achieving the goal of reducing poverty is demanding.

Date: 2022
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