Renowned social assistance program architect shares what not to do

Ana Isabel Paraguay
Posted August 11, 2016 from Brazil

"Don’t do what we have done” was one of the resounding messages Santiago Levy told an audience of development professionals, government representatives, civil society, private sector and members of academia during the Asian Development Bank’s Social Protection Week at the bank’s headquarters in Manila, Philippines.

Levy, vice president for sectors and knowledge at the Inter-American Development Bank and known for being the architect behind Mexico’s globally renowned social assistance program Oportunidades, renamed Prospera, was referring to the social insurance policies that a number of governments in Latin America implemented over the years. While the policies were adopted with good intentions — extending insurance coverage to the informal sector — they’ve produced unintended consequences that have only exacerbated the problem of informal work.

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