DigiFI Africa Team

About the Initiative | Team | RFP |African Scholars

Initiative Chair: Tavneet Suri

Tavneet Suri is an Associate Professor of Applied Economics at the MIT Sloan School of Management. She is an NBER Faculty Research Fellow, a Junior Affiliate at the Bureau for Research and Economic Analysis of Development (BREAD), a Research Affiliate at J-PAL, a Research Affiliate at the Center for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) and the Co-Director of the Agriculture Research Programme at the International Growth Center (IGC). Tavneet’s research centres on applied microeconomic issues in sub-Saharan Africa. In particular, she works on technology adoption (agricultural, water, cell phone), risk sharing and consumption smoothing, the role of measurement error in poverty dynamics, and the role of infrastructure in the development of markets. Her research currently spans Kenya, Ghana, Rwanda and Sierra Leone. Tavneet completed her PhD in Economics at Yale University and is Co-Chair of J-PAL's Agriculture sector.

Project Director: Emily Cupito

Emily Cupito is a Project Director for J-PAL Africa at the University of Cape Town. In this role, she focuses on helping governments use rigorous research to understand how policy decisions affect the lives of their citizens. Her work focuses on two projects: Teaching at the Right Level and the Digital ID and Finance Initiative for Africa (DigiFI Africa). For Teaching at the Right Level, she works as the Learning Director and oversees the team’s partnership with the Government of Zambia. She is also the acting Director of DigiFI Africa, a new research initiative designed to support governments in studying how to design reforms in digital IDs and payments. Prior to this role, Emily worked as the Associate Director of Policy for J-PAL Africa where she led outreach to policymakers across the continent in order to help them interpret rigorous research results and think strategically about how these results could be translated into effective programs. Emily previously worked in Uganda with Innovations for Poverty Action, where she supported financial inclusion research by leading dissemination efforts, developing new projects, and working to build the capacity of researchers in Africa and South Asia. She also previously worked as a Presidential Management Fellow with the US Federal Government. Emily received a master's in public policy from Duke University and a bachelor's in economics and public policy from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Postdoctoral Fellow: Gabriel Tourek 

Gabriel Tourek is a Post-Doctoral Associate at J-PAL Global working with the Digital Identification and Finance Initiative in Africa. His primary research interests are at the intersection of public economics and development. Gabriel received his PhD in public policy from Harvard University in 2019.

Policy Associate: Aimee Hare

Aimee is a Policy Associate at J-PAL Africa where she works on the Africa Research Initiative on Identification, Payments and Governance. Prior to this role, Aimee served as a Research Associate on labour, health and utility related research projects at J-PAL Africa. She has extensive experience in data collection and analysis and coordinating with research partners. Aimee holds a master's in Development Economics from University Paris 1 Sorbonne and a master's in Applied Economics from the University of Cape Town.