Nevine El-Kabbag, Minister of Social Solidarity participated on Monday in a roundtable discussion at the American University in Cairo, entitled “Towards an Evidence-Informed Development Agenda for Egypt”.
The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and UNICEF Egypt co-hosted the event, with the support of Allianz Egypt.
The roundtable also featured 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.
Minister El-Kabbag said: “The ultimate aim in the coming period to focus on topics such as decent life, social protection scheme, and policy issues that are extremely vital in 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 such as UNICEF.”
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.
Jeremy Hopkins 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 that these policy discussions that have 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,” Hopkins added.
Alison Fahey 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.