Cambodia’s Cash Transfer Program during COVID-19

Publication | December 2022

The livelihoods of many beneficiary households have improved as a result of the cash transfer program in Cambodia.

In 2019, Cambodia had been enjoying its steady economic growth until the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic hit the country from February 2020 in the form of severe infectious diseases, causing both economic and social problems for people from all walks of life, especially poor and vulnerable families. The IDPoor Equity Card, a poverty identification and registration system, was introduced in Cambodia to provide cash to poor pregnant women and children since 2016. Given its continued success, Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen announced the implementation of the Cash Transfer Program (CTP) using the IDPoor Card system. The CTP provided cash to poor and vulnerable households across the country affected by the pandemic. Executing the first large-scale cash transfer program in history presented significant challenges for the Government of Cambodia. In addition to implementing the program, which had to adhere to the three principles of equity–equality–efficiency, the government had other challenges to overcome, such as the limited number of tablets and facilities to accommodate the many people waiting in line to withdraw cash. Under the guidance of the central government, particularly the Economic and Finance Policy Committee, a technical working group was established to lead the implementation process; coordination among local governments, local councils, agencies, and the poor and needy; review of the IDPoor database; establishment of the digital payment system; and training of local government staff. This enabled the CTP to effectively distribute cash to poor and vulnerable households during the pandemic.


Additional Details

  • Finance sector development
  • Health
  • Social development and protection
  • Cambodia