TEPSA has coordinated a study for the European Parliament’s Committee on Development (DEVE), authored by Aitor PEREZ, (Senior Research Fellow, Elcano Royal Institute, Spain) Nicolas AYENSA, (associate consultant, Economistas de la Cooperación, S.L., Spain) and Maricruz LACALLE, (Director of the International Master in Microfinance and Financial Inclusion at Universidad Autónoma de Madrid), on “Cash for development? The use of microcredits and cash transfers as development tools”.
Microcredits and cash transfers are two distinct tools, but they both target poor households and individuals with cash alike. This report provides details of the latest advances in these cash-for-development tools at a time when the EU is reshaping its development finance tools for the 2021-27 period. Through a literature review, our study provides the current state of knowledge on microcredits and cash transfers. It then considers current EU support for these modalities and assesses this support in light of the main findings and conclusions drawn from the literature. Research reveals much evidence confirming cash-for-development tools’ contributions to poverty reduction. Furthermore, it identifies a second layer of positive economic effects resulting from their use that can be of value when determining responses to the Covid-19 crisis. Moreover, even though microfinance and cash transfers have undergone exponential growth in recent decades, their use remains very limited at EU Institution level. The report recommends that a broader and more systematic use of cash-for-development tools should be explored by EU Institutions, albeit framed within broader programming and context analysis.