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Assessing the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) program as a conditional income transfer: a search for a conceptual framework

Alhassan Karakara and Ernest Amoabeng Ortsin

International Journal of Social Economics, 2022, vol. 49, issue 4, 546-561

Abstract: Purpose - Ghana has implemented different kinds of pro-poor program and policies since its independence to reduce poverty. The Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) is one of such program. LEAP is a social cash transfer program and its implementation has been under the auspices of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection since 2008. It provides direct cash and health insurance coverage for extremely poor households across the country to alleviate short-term poverty and encourage long-term human capital development. This paper examines the LEAP program in terms of how it has achieved its aim and the opportunities for improvement. Design/methodology/approach - Primary data were obtained from interviews of 110 beneficiaries of the program. The study proposes a conceptual framework that links poverty reduction and social policies to assist researchers analyze pro-poor or social cash transfer program. Findings - The findings show that the program is challenged with administrative bureaucracies, irregular inflow of funds, perceived political interferences, inconsistent implementation strategies and low value of the cash transfer (which results in little or no impact on consumption). However, the data also show that LEAP has positive impacts on nonconsumption spending like children's schooling. The program' exit strategy does not impact much on beneficiaries to allow them exit without the tendency of being poor. Practical implications - This paper discussed the LEAP program as a social cash transfer to the poor in Ghana. The study constructed a conceptual framework to help researchers and practitioners analyze the implementation of pro-poor interventions. This conceptualization allows for cash transfer program to empower beneficiaries and exits them to allow for other beneficiaries to enroll, ensuring reduction in poverty over time. Generally, the beneficiaries have benefited from the LEAP in the areas of consumption, education and healthcare with few beneficiaries being able to accumulate some few assets. The LEAP program has no exit plan. Originality/value - This study adds to literature by offering a conceptual framework to help researchers and policy makers in dealing with social assistance policies to the poor. The study also gave an insight into how pro-poor policy strategies could be crafted.

Keywords: Conceptual framework; Ghana; LEAP; Social cash transfer; I31; I38; R29 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
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DOI: 10.1108/IJSE-04-2021-0199

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