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News, ideas, and analysis from J-PAL staff and affiliated professors. Subscribe to our newsletter to receive monthly email updates.

Women in Kenya walk along town street while in conversation.

Unpacking the evidence on social programs in sub-Saharan Africa

J-PAL Africa recently concluded a five-part blog series providing evidence-informed perspectives on key debates in the fight against poverty in sub-Saharan Africa, highlighting lessons for policymakers.
A woman carries various objects while walking in her village.

Prepaid versus Postpaid Electricity: Provision, Access, and Efficiency

Many countries in Africa are transitioning from postpaid to prepaid electricity metering. However, the way this transition will affect households is not well understood. What are the differences between the two billing systems, and how can they affect energy access?
Unidentified Ghanaian pupils in school uniform in a local village. Photo: nicolasdecorte | Shutterstock.com

Want to get girls to school in sub-Saharan Africa? Tackle poverty

Female education remains a key challenge in sub-Saharan Africa, which is home to the largest population of out-of-school girls. Poverty remains a key barrier to school enrolment, especially following the economic disruptions triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic. Can governments really hope to tackle...
Headshot of Dr. Nkechi Owoo

African Scholar Spotlight: Dr. Nkechi Owoo

By
In this post we speak with Dr. Nkechi Owoo, a senior lecturer in the Department of Economics at the University of Ghana. Nkechi’s primary research interests relate to gender, health, demography, and poverty alleviation.
Farmers in Malawi gather around a laptop to learn about fingerprinting technology.

Challenges of fingerprinting: Will digital IDs revolutionise service delivery in sub-Saharan Africa?

Can digital IDs and biometric data collection really revolutionise service delivery in Africa? Digital identification systems could assist the delivery of emergency relief programs by uniquely identifying individuals in the target countries, generating a cleaner and more precise database. However...
A woman stands in front of a bookcase wearing a black jacket and glasses.

Affiliate Spotlight: Tavneet Suri on the importance of locally-grounded research

A weak internet connection did not stop J-PAL Africa Scientific Director Tavneet Suri from getting her point across in our interview: Good research is done with an ear to the ground and a connection to the community. Calling in from her home country of Kenya, Tavneet emphasized how important it is...
Chuka Ezeoguine stands in front of Killian Court on the MIT campus in Cambridge, MA.

J-PAL Africa Intern Spotlight: Chuka Ezeoguine’s journey pivoting to development economics from engineering

Chuka Ezeoguine is a 2021 J-PAL Africa intern who majored in engineering for his undergraduate degree, but had a keen interest in policy and pursued this passion. In this post, he talks about the steps he took to pivot to the field of development economics and his strides within our organization as...
African woman selling in a local market while using her mobile phone.

The challenges of targeting social protection programs

Delivering social benefits to people living in poverty in low- and middle-income countries can be particularly challenging as governments are unable to observe or measure the income of individuals and small businesses. How can these countries possibly identify the poorest in society in the absence...