The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) at Massachusetts Institute Technology (MIT) will increase its work and presence in the MENA region, it confirmed at a recent event in Dubai.

Government officials, NGOs and representatives from the private sector attended the April event, where J-PAL announced plans to build on its existing projects in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar.

Abhijit Banerjee, Professor of Economics at MIT and Director of J-PAL, (pictured above) told the delegates in Dubai: “Our plan is to focus on the Middle East and wider region, and play a key role in improving lives and alleviating poverty.”

Fady Mohammed Jameel, President of Community Jameel International, said: “The work of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab at MIT touches on key issues such as youth employment, heath, and education.  So MIT increasing its focus on the Middle East and North Africa to help improve lives in the region is welcome news.

Since its formation in 2003, J-PAL has established almost 150 affiliated professors from more than 40 universities worldwide.  More than 300 million people have been reached by programs tested and found to be effective through J-PAL evaluations.