Social protection is an investment in people. It has the potential to boost inclusive growth by improving the population’s resilience, productivity and employability. Indeed, in Kenya, cash transfers bring about increases in households’ school attainment and consumption, with the balance of costs and benefits eventually turning positive. However, contextual barriers limit households’ ability to invest cash transfers. Improving the design and implementation of cash transfers, strengthening linkages between social protection and other types of support, and investing in other basic services (e.g. health, education and labor market policies) can help unlock the population’s productive potential.
Strengthening the linkages between social protection and other services can achieve complementary effects and contribute to a broad range of outcomes. ‘Cash Plus’ is the programming option of directly linking cash transfers with other types of support, including access to basic services, in-kind transfers, training or counselling. Such programmes have been increasingly used around the world, including Kenya, to enhance the productive effects of social protection. This brief makes the case for investing in social protection and complementary services to boost the population’s productivity and secure Kenya on the path of long-term and inclusive socio-economic development. Further, it proposes concrete policy options to enhance the productive returns to social protection in line with the Vision 2030 development agenda.