Addressing poverty with evidence

Minister of Social Solidarity joins UNICEF/J-PAL MENA at AUC’s roundtable on “Evidence-Informed Development Agenda”

15 November 2021
Minister of Social Solidarity joins UNICEF/J-PAL MENA at AUC’s roundtable on “Evidence-Informed Development Agenda”
Egypt 2021/The American University in Cairo

CAIRO, 15 November 2021 – Today, the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab Middle East and North Africa (J-PAL MENA) at The American University in Cairo (AUC), and UNICEF Egypt co-hosted a roundtable discussion entitled “Towards an Evidence-Informed Development Agenda for Egypt”, with the support of Allianz Egypt.

The roundtable featured H.E. Dr. Nevine El-Kabbag, Minister of Social Solidarity, Rema Hanna, Professor at Harvard University and J-PAL Southeast Asia Co-Scientific Director, Alison Fahey, Executive Director of J-PAL MENA at AUC, Samer Atallah, Associate Dean of AUC School of Business, and Jeremy Hopkins, UNICEF Representative in Egypt. 

H.E Dr. Nevine el Kabbag, Minister of Social Solidarity said, “the ultimate aim in the coming period to focus on topics such as ‘Hayah Karima’ Decent Life initiative, social protection scheme and policy issues that are extremely vital at this stage. We need the expertise as well as research base in addition to building a mechanism in order to keep these efforts going in real time. My suggestion is to have UNICEF holding technical meetings with partners as UNICEF has been working with the ministry on social protection, among other areas and all of us are partners in the same boat.”

The roundtable highlighted policy priorities and knowledge gaps where evidence can help strengthen decision-making processes. The priorities discussed today, such as social assistance, health and education, among others, will shape the topics for the seminars J-PAL MENA at AUC and UNICEF Egypt will co-host over the coming year to ensure their close alignment with the Government of Egypt’s agenda. 

Mr. Jeremy Hopkins, UNICEF Representative in Egypt said, “the Global Evidence for Egypt (GE4E) series, launched with J-PAL in 2019 strived to foster a discussion between Egyptian policymakers, development practitioners, researchers, academics, and J-PAL affiliated researchers. We at UNICEF believe these policy discussions that has been taking place over the past two years in the Global Evidence for Egypt seminars are critical to help us identify policy priorities in Egypt and how to achieve them.”

“During these seminars, we have discussed strengthening the education system, social and gender norms, social assistance, and unemployment in Egypt, and we look forward to highlighting other priorities for future exploration of global evidence with our partners”, added Mr. Hopkins.   

Alison Fahey, Executive Director of J-PAL MENA at AUC said, “rigorous impact evaluations conducted by J-PAL affiliated professors shed light on what works and what does not work to reduce poverty; these insights can help improve development outcomes and can support government efforts to make evidence-informed policy decisions. This roundtable ensures government priorities will drive J-PAL MENA at AUC and UNICEF Egypt efforts in the years ahead, including dissemination of rigorous evidence from J-PAL randomized evaluations.”

This roundtable discussion is part of J-PAL MENA at AUC and UNICEF Egypt’s Global Evidence for Egypt Spotlight Seminar Series, established in 2019 to encourage dialogues that tailor insights from J-PAL’s global evidence base of 1,091 (ongoing and completed) randomized evaluations conducted in 91 countries, to the Egyptian context. This dialogue aims to promote the use of evidence to design and implement effective policies and programs in Egypt across areas of social protection, gender, youth unemployment, education, and health, with children and youths being at the center of this discussion.

Ultimately, this partnership, with the support of Allianz Egypt, aims to support the Government of Egypt with moving the needle on achieving Egypt’s Vision 2030 and Sustainable Development Goals through advancing evidence-informed decision-making. 


About J-PAL MENA at AUC 
The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab Middle East and North Africa (J-PAL MENA) at The American University in Cairo’s School of Business is a regional office established in July 2020, as a part of a larger network of research centers worldwide working to reduce poverty by ensuring that policy is informed by scientific evidence. Anchored by a network of more than 200 affiliated professors at universities around the world, J-PAL MENA draws on results from randomized impact evaluations to answer critical questions in the fight against poverty. We build partnerships with governments, NGOs, donors, and others to share this knowledge, scale up effective programs, and advance evidence-informed decision-making. 

J-PAL was launched at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2003 and has regional centers in Africa, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, the Middle East and North Africa, North America, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. For more information, visit

About the American University in Cairo School of Business
Boasting an unrivalled reputation as the top private business school in Egypt and one of the best in Africa and the Arab world, AUC School of Business is dedicated to transforming the eager and innovative minds of today to become the responsible change agents of tomorrow, all while developing relevance and leadership in an evolving ecosystem.  

Situated within AUC and enjoying nearly seven decades’ worth of history, the School offers a wide range of programs and activities that extend beyond the classroom to provide a holistic and engaging experiential learning approach. The School’s seal of excellence is the Triple Crown accreditation, which places it among the top 1 percent of educational institutions worldwide to achieve the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, the Association of MBAs and the European Quality Improvement System accreditations. 

For more information, visit

About the American University in Cairo 
Founded in 1919, The American University in Cairo (AUC) is a leading English-language, American-accredited institution of higher education and center of the intellectual, social, and cultural life of the Arab world. It is a vital bridge between East and West, linking Egypt and the region to the world through scholarly research, partnerships with academic and research institutions and study abroad programs.

The University offers 40 undergraduate, 52 master’s and two PhD programs rooted in a liberal arts education that encourages students to think critically and find creative solutions to conflicts and challenges facing both the region and the world.

An independent, nonprofit, politically non-partisan, non-sectarian and equal opportunity institution, AUC is fully accredited in Egypt and the United States. For more information, visit

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