Proyecto Capital
Financial inclusion opportunities in Latin America and the Caribbean
A woman who saves is a life that changes lifes.
Publications (En breve)

Conditional cash transfers (CCTs) are ever-popular social protection programs that transfer cash to poor households on the condition that those households make agreed upon investments in the human capital of the children (such as in education, healthcare and nutrition).

The premise is that CCTs combine long run human capital development with short-term poverty

alleviation, via a monetary incentive. By and large, CCT program effects are significantly positive in the reduction of poverty rates, the short-term goal. And while the long term goal of bettering children’s education and health is a more complicate to measure, there have been undisputed success.

We will illustrate the case for innovation within CCTs, effectively demonstrating that savings linked CCTs are cost effective intervention to rounding out the common pitfalls in these social

protection programs. We straightforwardly identify the reasons for which we believe deposit accounts are the best fit, creating a potential WIN-WIN-WIN for governments, beneficiaries and financial institutions. And lastly, we cover an initiative in Peru, which is currently promoting the usage of savings accounts amongst its CCT beneficiaries.

Published in Publications

To encourage analysis of and research on the design of Cctps that more effectively stimulate this vulnerable population’s access to and use of financial services, this paper present a summary of the state of the art of progress in financial inclusion in Cctps in Latin America.

This study is part of an initiative of the International Development Research Center (Idrc), within the framework of the project of Social Protection and Economic Empowerment: Conditional

Cash Transfer Programs, Financial Inclusion and Information and Communication Technologies, with support from the Proyecto Capital and the Institute of Peruvian Studies (Instituto de Estudios Peruanos, IEP), and presents the principal results of the review of CCT experiences and their relationship with the financial system, the main challenges encountered and a review of the demand for financial services in Latin America.

Published in Publications

The Conditional Cash Transfers Program in Peru, JUNTOS-, taking two prior experiences – the Puno-Cusco Development Corridor Project and the Southern Highlands Development Program – into account, in partnership with the Banco de la Nación, AgroRural and ST-CIAS, and with technical assistance from the Capital Project, the JUNTOS program designed (and implemented, beginning in 2009) a pilot program to provide financial tools to JUNTOS beneficiaries in two places in the country, Coporaque and San Jerónimo, through the use and management of savings accounts. 

“Promoting Savings in JUNTOS Families” pilot program was designed to provide financial tools to lay the groundwork for possible strategies for enabling beneficiaries of the JUNTOS Program to move out of poverty.

The results described in this paper show that rural women are interested in the financial system, it is useful to them, and they want to and are able to use it. To do so, however, they need initial information about what the system can offer them, as well as a way of getting answers to their questions. Mechanisms are also needed to overcome the distrust with which they initially approach the system.

Most of the women now trust the financial system. The savings account, which is the financial product promoted by the pilot project, gives them security and control over their resources.

The savers have learned to use their accounts. It is therefore clear that they can learn to use other types of services, such as loans, transfers and deposits.

This first year of the pilot provides a valuable opportunity to continue studying and understanding the financial demands of poor women and their families, and to identify bottlenecks faced by various stakeholders, such as financial intermediaries, public agencies, etc., and possible solutions for leveraging processes for inclusion in the financial system.

Published in Publications

In light of the resources that Mexico’s federal government transfers to the poor through various programs and efforts that are under way to expand the financial system, this study discusses the possible convergence between conditional or direct cash transfer programs for the poor and poor people’s inclusion in Mexico’s financial system through savings.

While some social programs in Mexico have enhanced the human capital of the people they served, they alone have not reduced the effects of external shocks or created a bridge for incorporating beneficiaries into the pro­duction chain.

This study identified 15 programs that, ac­cording to their rules of operation, make cash transfers to the poor, for human capital (Conditional Cash Transfer or CCT programs) or for inputs, training or investment in pro­ductive activities (Direct Cash Transfer or DCT programs). 

Published in Publications

The Women Savers in Action Project (Proyecto Mujeres Ahorradoras en Acción, MAA) is a Colombian government initiative implemented as part of the Income Generation Program of the Presidential Agency for Social Action and International Cooperation (Acción Social).

This integral project builds the social and business skills of socially vulnerable women, creating a culture of savings and empowerment through gender awareness, financial education, business skills training, connection with the formal financial system through savings accounts, and savings incentives designed to generate resources to enhance productive enterprises.

The purpose of this study is to document the MAA Project’s intervention strategy and analyze the changes introduced throughout the various phases, to identify lessons that could be used to improve the design and/or implementation of similar projects. The study focuses on the pilot phases and the first expansion of the project.

Published in Publications

This study analyses the articulation of financial asset accumulation and conditional cash transfer programs as sustainable poverty alleviation strategies, using Peru’s Program - JUNTOS - as a case study. A mixed-methods approach- multiple regression ordinary least square (OLS) and qualitative data analysis- was applied to assess and compare the main determinants of savings behavior among the Peruvian population in 2008, and a sample of beneficiaries of a savings promotion program in the country’s rural Sierra. 

Preliminary results show that after controlling for factors such as education, geographic location, age and ethnic background, income can be considered as the main determinant of savings behavior. However, qualitative analysis provided evidence to suggest that financial education, choice of financial services, as well as socio-economic and demographic heterogeneity may also influence saving behavior among rural sectors.

Financial asset and human capital accumulation may be considered as a sustainable strategy to break with intergenerational cycles of poverty and exclusion in Peru. However, further analysis and empirical research is needed to identify the best ways in which these processes might be implemented.  

Published in Publications

During the years 2008 and 2009, was held in Ecuador, an attempt to advance a public-private partnership to bring together the efforts of UNIBANCO (agency specializing in consumer loans to small savers) and the Programa de Protección Social (entity responsible of the Conditional Cash Transfer programs).

To this end, agreements were reached to implement a joint agreement between the two institutions mentioned above. The agreement consisted in opening savings accounts at UNIBANCO (UBC), without charge, to deposit the Human Development Voucher to the beneficiaries that they would like in those accounts.

This case study seeks to document and discuss how it came, the agreement implemented and led by UBC, in order to draw lessons for future processes of financial inclusion of low-income people in the country.

Published in Publications

The overarching goal of this study was to ascertain the design elements of financial access programs that most effectively encourage participants to utilize financial institutions and save. This qualitative study focused on the financial preferences of participants in both programs i.e. which financial products, incentives, and institutions they preferred, and why. The study also aimed to address general perceptions of financial institutions among the unbanked, and how participants utilized savings and CCT funds.

Published in Publications

The objective of the study is to investigate the interrelation between formal micro savings accounts and micro life insurance and their paired effect on vulnerability reduction. Both serve as instruments of risk mitigation and management to smooth income and consumption. In this paper I highlight themes within the synergetic impact of the two programs on levels of vulnerability within a poor population.

Published in Publications

Savings Promotions Amongst Women Beneficiaries of JUNTOS” is a program being developed in Peru, since October 2009.

“Savings Promotions Amongst Women Beneficiaries of JUNTOS aims at inserting beneficiaries of Peru’s CMT program into the financial system, and for them to benefit from it. This will be achieved by encouraging them to save and by offering them with financial workshops and follow up. 

The objective is that JUNTOS beneficiary women do not withdraw the entire amount of the transference at once; but that, each month, they keep part of it in their accounts.

In this document we will present the first results of the program’s pilot.

Published in Publications