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This paper addresses the question of whether microfinance and conditional cash transfers can be effective in alleviating poverty in the Latin American region, and provides a comprehensive assessment of each of these programmes using data and evaluation reports from 19 countries in the Latin American region, analysed in the context of six operational and impact criteria. The research shows that microfinance may be better suited for those living on US$2 per day or higher, while conditional cash transfers may be more beneficial for those living in extreme poverty. Neither programme offers a ‘magic bullet’ solution for poverty eradication, but they can provide positive outcomes when prescribed in combination.

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