A massive experiment in East Africa may provide the concrete evidence we need to edge towards universal basic income (UBI). As discussed in a previous blog post, research shows that a guaranteed annual income creates social benefits, generating empowerment and helping us map a sustainable path forward. Give Directly, a non-profit organization circulating unconditional cash transfers to impoverished people in Kenya and Uganda, is planning a 10-15 year pilot. According to a Co.Exist article, one key benefit with experimenting in Africa is that it will cost 30% less than an equivalent study in the U.S. or Europe. With a price tag of $30 million, up to 15,000 people will be involved in the pilot with 6,000 people receiving the full basic income amount. And fortunately, it won’t take 10 years to measure impact since results will appear long before the end of the study. The pilot is set to launch at the end of 2016.
Rwenzori Foothills in Uganda, via Wikimedia Commons