The politics of promoting social cash transfers in Zambia

Kate Pruce, Sam Hickey

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter examines the rise of social cash transfers in Zambia, going beyond the focus on elections and institutions within mainstream accounts of how social protection is likely to emerge in Africa to demonstrate that there are two alternative drivers: shifting dynamics within Zambia’s political settlement and the promotional efforts of a transnational policy coalition. The extensive efforts of this policy coalition helped get social cash transfers onto the policy agenda, but they only gained political traction when the balance of power within Zambia’s ruling coalition shifted and key actors perceived there to be a crisis regarding the distributional strategies deployed to maintain the stability and legitimacy of the political settlement. Social protection has yet to displace existing interests, ideas, and rent-allocation practices; however, cash transfers are gaining localized support. What matters now is the way in which such transfers become integrated within Zambia’s distributional regime.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Politics of Social Protection in Eastern and Southern Africa
EditorsSam Hickey, Tom Lavers, Miguel Niño-Zarazúa, Jeremy Seekings
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Print)9780198850342
Publication statusPublished - 21 Nov 2019


  • Zambia
  • cash transfers
  • social protection
  • political settlements
  • policy coalition


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