Sending cash directly to poor people is one of the most efficient ways to fight poverty. During Covid-19, while many countries found it difficult to target, enroll, and pay millions in need due to restrictive measures, Togo managed to distribute €29M to 920,000 vulnerable people (¼ of its adult population) through NOVISSI, a digital payment program. NOVISSI has an instant cash transfer platform that does not need Internet access to function. It leverages artificial intelligence, satellite imagery, machine learning, and mobile technologies to improve the targeting of beneficiaries, a potential game-changer for the delivery of social aids in countries with no social registries. The AI targeting approach was led by the government of Togo, with the technical support of IPA and CEGA's researchers, and a €9M grant from GiveDirectly, to support 140,000 poor people, solely targeted using AI.
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