Dr. Abhijit Banerjee, a co-director of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), highlighted the organization’s determination to improve lives and alleviate poverty across the Middle East during a recent public lecture at one of Egypt’s leading universities.

Dr. Banerjee spoke at the American University in Cairo at an event entitled Reducing Poverty and Promoting Social Development: How Evidence Can Inform Better Policy in MENA.

The event, which was jointly organized by J-PAL, the Economics Department of the American University, the Economic Research Forum, and the Sawiris Foundation for Social Development, emphasized J-PAL’s evidence-based approach to informing effective social policies and programs.

It featured a recent study by Dr. Adam Osman, an affiliated professor in J-PAL’s network, that led to increased profits, higher productivity and improved product quality for several Egyptian rug manufacturers.

Dr. Banerjee said: “Our plan is to focus on the Middle East and North Africa [and] 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.”

Formed in 2003 to tackle the root causes of poverty, J-PAL’s work frequently covers health, education, youth employment, and financial inclusion. 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.