Addressing Inequalities and Challenges to Social Inclusion through Productive Inclusion Policies: Brazil’s Experience

In the 2000s, the significant economic growth of several medium- and low-income countries allowed for an increase in spending on social programs aimed to reduce poverty and inequality. Among many consequences of such expansion, the Unified Registry for Social Programs (Cadastro Único) and conditional cash transfer programs, such as “Bolsa Família”, were created. As a result, in Brazil, the poverty and hunger eradication agenda advanced significantly in the past decades: more than 25 million Brazilians left their extreme poverty situation. Experience has shown, however, that a significant percentage of the families benefitting from conditional cash transfer policies did not have real opportunities for economic and social emancipation. This led to the development of social policy interventions that provide not only income support, but also professional education and entrepreneurship assistance.