Using satellite photos to help distribute cash

Togo distributed money to people in need, including informal sector workers, by identifying them using machine learning. Algorithms search satellite photos for clues of poverty, using measures like building density, and individuals within those areas are found using mobile phone data as a proxy of their wealth. Media campaigns also encourage people to apply for assistance. Once eligibility is confirmed, the first of five monthly payments is instantly sent to their phone and can be collected at local pick-up points. People without mobile phones can use an inexpensive SIM card in a borrowed phone.

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