A Technology White Paper on Improving the Efficiency of Social Safety Net Program Delivery in Low Income Countries: An Introduction to Available and Emerging Mobile Technologies

This document outlines various available and emerging information and communication technologies (ICTs) and provides a framework to assess how these technologies may be used to improve the efficiency of the delivery of safety net programs. These technologies include: mobile computing, biometrics, satellite communications, simple and smart cards, global positioning systems, radio frequency identification tags, automated teller machines and solar power. Their use in the administration, delivery and monitoring of SSN programs offers numerous advantages including increased accuracy, reliability and timeliness of information, performance measurement and service provider accountability. However, these new and emerging technologies typically require higher initial investment costs that benefit current and future time periods. The optimal solution to design an advanced and efficient delivery system for a safety net program may be a combination of traditional service delivery methods and new technologies that draws on a needs assessment that accounts for local conditions and program characteristics.