J-PAL Africa

J-PAL Africa, based at the University of Cape Town, leads J-PAL’s work in sub-Saharan Africa. J-PAL Africa conducts randomized evaluations, builds partnerships for evidence-informed policymaking, and helps partners scale up effective programs.

Our research team evaluates the impact of social programs and policies in South Africa, covering a wide range of sectors including labor markets, urban services, and political participation. Our policy team works with organizations and governments across Africa to build, pilot, and scale cost-effective interventions, including the Teaching at the Right Level approach to primary education. Our training team builds researcher capacity to conduct randomized evaluations and policymaker capacity to use evidence from randomized evaluations effectively. 

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A man and woman use their phones for a mobile money transfer
Blog

The rise of mobile money in sub-Saharan Africa: Has this digital technology lived up to its promises?

Mobile money has been touted as a revolutionary tool for expanding access to financial services in low resource environments. But does this technology live up to its promises? What are the impacts on the households who use mobile money?

Two South African youths engaging in online skills training
Blog

Reducing labour market information frictions with skill certificates: Evidence from South Africa

Limited information during a firm's hiring decision or a workseeker's search can lead to "information frictions" that may contribute to the high global youth unemployment rate. In a recently published paper, J-PAL affiliated researchers showed how assessing youth workseeker skills in South Africa...

Woman holds a card that reads "our vote our choice" from Ghana Decides
Blog

Digital IDs: The good, the bad, and the unknown

As policymakers across Africa are increasingly investing in digital identification systems, the Digital Identification and Finance Initiative in Africa (DigiFI) explores what the benefits, challenges, and unknowns are. 

A young student in class
Blog

Promoting girls’ participation in schools: insights from academic research

What actions can countries take to implement or reinforce efforts to increase school participation for girls? Pascaline Dupas (Stanford; Co-Chair, J-PAL’s Health sector) presented evidence from randomized evaluations on interventions that have increased school participation in a recent webinar.