Release: Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab at MIT teams up with Egyptian organizations for Cairo event
- Cairo event jointly organized by the Economics Department of the American University in Cairo, the Economic Research Forum, and the Sawiris Foundation for Social Development
- New research on exporting Egyptian goods to high-income countries highlighted
- Event part of J-PAL’s ongoing work to improve lives and alleviate poverty in the region
Cairo, Egypt: Dr. Abhijit Banerjee, Ford Foundation International Professor of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and co-director of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), delivered a public lecture at the American University in Cairo as part of ongoing work to improve lives and alleviate poverty in the region.
The event, titled “Reducing Poverty and Promoting Social Development: How Evidence Can Inform Better Policy in MENA,” highlighted J-PAL’s evidence-based approach to informing effective social policies and programs. The lecture was followed by a discussion moderated by Dr. Ragui Assaad, Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Economics Department at the American University in Cairo (AUC), Professor at The University of Minnesota, and Research Fellow at the Economic Research Forum (ERF).
The event was jointly organized by the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab, the Economics Department of the American University in Cairo, the Economic Research Forum, and the Sawiris Foundation for Social Development.
Professor Banerjee discussed the importance of using rigorous scientific evidence to develop effective policies and programs. To illustrate this approach, he highlighted a new study by Dr. Adam Osman, an affiliated professor in J-PAL’s network. This study, which was conducted in partnership with Aid to Artisans and Hamis Carpets and examines the impact of offering small-scale rug manufacturers in Kafr El Sheikh in Egypt the opportunity to export to high-income countries. The program led to increased profits, higher productivity, and improved product quality compared to manufacturers that were not offered the opportunity.
Speaking in Cairo, Abhijit Banerjee said: “Our plan is to focus on the Middle East and North Africa to play a key role in improving lives and alleviating poverty.
“We work closely with governments, donors, and NGOs to help design and evaluate innovative social programs, scale up the most cost-effective interventions, and build a culture of policymaking informed by evidence.”
J-PAL was set up in 2003 to tackle the root causes of poverty, including issues related to health, education, youth employment, and financial inclusion. J-PAL announced in April it will be increasing its work and presence in the Middle East and North Africa as part of its commitment to helping improve lives and alleviate poverty in the region. This supports the development of policy-driven research, the results of which could inform policymaking in the Middle East and other regions facing similar challenges.
To date, J-PAL affiliated researchers have conducted more than 860 evaluations in 80 countries, and more than 300 million people have been reached by programs tested and found to be effective through J-PAL evaluations.
Media contact: Nour Shammout