Digital innovations in delivering social protection in rural areas: Lessons for public provisioning during the post-pandemic recovery and beyond

Over the past 20 years, considerable progress has been made in reducing poverty worldwide, with the expansion of social protection coverage and uptake playing a key role. To strengthen and expand the public provision of social protection, which is a fundamental human right, countries have been investing in the development of robust delivery systems. These investments have included the deployment of digital tools, especially identification and payment systems and social registries, with a view to extending coverage and disbursing benefits more effectively. This publication discusses the potential of digital technology to improve social protection performance in rural areas, as well as its limitations. Through case studies from across all regions, the paper documents the extent to which digitalisation can improve the delivery and uptake of social protection among rural populations. It also discusses the challenges, risks and trade-offs of digitalising social protection in terms of its impact on the efficiency, effectiveness, responsiveness and inclusiveness when catering to rural areas.

Additionally, access the webinar recording of the launch of this publication, during a session organised on 11 May by the IPCid and FAO.