Working Paper
Towards greater poverty reduction in Zambia

Simulating potential Cash Plus reforms using MicroZAMOD

A large share of the population in Zambia is living below the national poverty line. To reduce poverty, in 2019, the government initiated the Cash Plus reform, which aims to build on the existing Social Cash Transfer as a floor benefit with additional benefits to take account of the multidimensionality of poverty.

We use the tax–benefit microsimulation model MicroZAMOD to analyse the coverage and poverty impact of the current social protection system and to assess the extent to which potential Cash Plus reform scenarios can improve the status quo.

The results highlight the need for reform to achieve greater poverty reduction. Overall, coverage of the extremely poor is high but coverage by the Social Cash Transfer as the envisaged floor benefit in the Cash Plus reform is low, and the benefit amount is often too little as it does not take account of household composition.

In theory, the Cash Plus reform offers the potential to achieve a greater poverty impact through multiple support. However, the simulations of the potential reform scenarios show that this requires more than the proposed Cash Plus design.