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Do Saving Promotion Interventions Help Alleviate Poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Janina Steinert (), Juliane Zenker, Ute Filipiak, Ani Movsisyan, Lucie Cluver and Yulia Shenderovich

No 226, Courant Research Centre: Poverty, Equity and Growth - Discussion Papers from Courant Research Centre PEG

Abstract: Saving promotion interventions have gained momentum in international development over the recent years. Our analysis investigates whether saving promotion can effectively reduce poverty and economic hardship in Sub-Saharan Africa. In an extensive database search, 9330 records were screened and 27 randomised controlled trials on saving promotion interventions fulfilled the inclusion criteria. Robust-variance estimations of pooled effect sizes show small but significant impacts on poverty reduction, including increases in household expenditures and incomes, higher returns from family businesses, and improved food security. They also show positive impacts on more intermediate outcomes including total savings, pro-saving attitudes, financial literacy, and investments in small-scale family businesses. Our results do not show significant effects on assets, housing quality, education, or health. Findings from this analysis suggest that saving promotion schemes are highly relevant in reducing poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa, and that formal banking services in particular require adaptation to the needs of the poor.

Date: 2017-04-13
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