Since the turn of the century, antipoverty transfers have emerged as a key area of international development policy and practice. Large scale programmes providing direct transfers to households in poverty in middle income countries have made an important contribution to the reduction of global poverty. More recently, antipoverty transfer programmes are beginning to emerge in low income countries. By 2010, conservative estimates indicate thatbetween three quarters and one billion people in the South lived in households receiving antipoverty transfers. The expansion of antipoverty transfers in the South largely represents domestic policy responses to poverty and vulnerability. It points to the primary role of distinctive social assistance institutions in the emerging welfare regimes in the South. In countries like South Africa or Brazil, antipoverty transfers are part of a renewed social contract focused on social, economic, and political inclusion of disadvantaged groups. The paper adopts a global perspective on the growth of social assistance in developing countries, it combines a discussion of the foundations of antipoverty transfers with an assessment of current practice.