Our Programmes



Sign up to our newsletter.

Follow ODI

The potential for cash transfers in Nigeria

Research reports

Written by Rebecca Holmes

In recent years, the government of Nigeria and its development partners have sought to develop social protection instruments as a mechanism to tackle high rates of poverty and vulnerability in the country and to support development progress in both the economic and the social spheres. As such, social protection is emerging as a policy objective, with cash transfers identified at the federal level and to some extent the state level as a potentially important instrument to achieve these goals.

This report examines the role of cash transfers in Nigeria and discusses considerations for the appropriateness and feasibility of different types of cash transfers in the Nigerian context.

The analysis draws on both primary and secondary research carried out between January and June 2011. A review of literature on cash transfers in Nigeria was carried out, including an analysis of policy and strategy documents, cash transfer programme documents, impact evaluations and other available grey literature. Key informant interviews (KIIs) were carried out with stakeholders at the national level and in selected local government areas (LGAs) in Abuja, Adamawa, Benue, Cross River, Edo, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Jigawa, Kano, Katsina and Lagos. Primary data collection also involved focus groups discussions (FGDs) and in-depth interviews (IDIs) with COPE beneficiaries (adults and adolescents) in Adamawa, Benue, Edo and Lagos as well as with non-beneficiaries in Adamawa and Edo. A micro-simulation targeting analysis was carried out using data from the 2004 Nigerian Living Standards Survey (NLSS).

Policy Implications
This report points to a number of policy implications for government and development partners to strengthen the social protection – and cash transfer – agenda in the country.

  1. Promote knowledge sharing and awareness of different types of social protection – and cash transfer programmes
  2. Carefully consider and prioritise cash transfer design features beyond a focus on conditionality
  3. Scale up existing cash transfer coverage by increasing fiscal space, strengthening institutional capacity and increasing political commitment
  4. Improve institutional coordination to deliver a social protection package
  5. Strengthen accountable and transparent mechanisms.
Rebecca Holmes, Michael Samson, Wendy Magoronga, Banke Akinrimisi with Jenny Morgan