Hicham El Azami

Headshot of Hicham El Azami

UJALA Lab Director, J-PAL Global

Hicham El Azami is the Lab Director of the UM6P-J-PAL Agricultural Lab for Africa (UJALA) where he ensures the efficient running of the lab and builds relationships with the evidence-informed decision-making communities for broader collaboration on the lab’s research. 

Prior to joining J-PAL, Hicham worked in the CEO and Chairman's Office at OCP, a world leader in phosphate fertilizers where he played a pivotal role in designing and implementing agricultural transformation packages across sub-Saharan Africa, engaging directly with governments in Ghana, Nigeria, Ethiopia, and Senegal. His contributions also extended to partnerships in China, including the establishment of an R&D lab and distribution agreements.

Hicham's career also includes serving as an Advisor to the CEO at the National Transport and Logistics Company in Morocco (SNTL), where he developed innovative strategies for electric vehicle sourcing and pioneered the first online marketplace dedicated to China-Africa e-commerce.

Hicham earned his PhD in Development Economics from Peking University, where he became the first ISSCAD Graduate from Morocco. He also holds an Executive MSc in African Geopolitics and Geo-economics from HEC Paris and an MSc in Management from ESSEC Business School. He is a native Arabic and French speaker and possesses a good command of Mandarin Chinese.