Job Type

Full Time


Details: The annual cost of employment, including benefits, is between R543 772 and R639 730 dependent on qualifications and experience



Start Date


Application Deadline



Cape Town
Western Cape
South Africa


J-PAL Africa seeks a Policy Manager to support its mission of promoting evidence-based policymaking. We are looking for a creative strategist who has an eye for opportunity, a dedication to quality and a passion for helping people.


The position will be based at J-PAL Africa, the Africa hub of J-PAL Global, which is located in the Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit (SALDRU) in the University Of Cape Town’s School Of Economics. While our policy team’s work spans sub-Saharan Africa, we anticipate this role will have a key focus on South Africa, particularly on growing our work with cities. J-PAL has teams based both in Cape Town and in Johannesburg. 


The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) consists of a global network of academics who specialise in conducting randomised evaluations of social policies/programmes to generate scientific evidence about what works in the fight against poverty. J-PAL’s policy group analyses and disseminates research results and builds partnerships with policymakers to ensure that policy is driven by evidence, and effective programmes are scaled up.


This role provides an excellent opportunity to engage with decision makers on the forefront of evidence-based policy making and to grow new opportunities to improve programmes and policies, thereby improving the lives of citizens across Africa. The J-PAL Africa team provides the flexibility for accelerated growth by supporting proactivity and encouraging top performers to expand and develop their portfolio. At the same time, the position is rooted in rigorous, careful evidence and backed by a system of scientific oversight and supportive management structures to promote both global sharing of ideas and the local contextualization and empowerment of policymakers on the ground.


Responsibilities include:

·      Identify policy priorities for countries in sub-Saharan Africa, including a key focus on South Africa

·      Match policy priorities with evidence, forge partnerships, share policy lessons and design strategies to apply policy lessons of effective interventions in sub-Saharan Africa. This work includes maintaining expertise and command of the policy lessons generated by randomised evaluations across the J-PAL sectors as well as deep, careful analysis of local contexts and sectors.

·      Identify, design and support opportunities for rigorous, policy-relevant research generation. This includes working both with policymakers and researchers in the J-PAL network to promote the generation of new randomised evaluations which answer key questions for policymakers.

·      Support the implementation of effective policy training events through contributing to design, presentations and relationship building with key stakeholders

·      Manage policy staff including recruitment and training of new staff, performance management and development

·      Track and manage policy budgets


Minimum requirements:

·      A Master’s Degree in Public Policy or Economics or another similar social science including graduate level courses in econometrics/statistics, microeconomics and development economics

·      A minimum of four years of relevant work experience

·      Demonstrated ability to analyse randomised evaluations, particularly in behavioral economics

·      Advanced writing and oral presentation skills in English, particularly the ability to communicate technical research to policymakers in a non-technical manner

·      Demonstrated leadership and management experience, including hiring, training, and management of staff

·      Experience organising, managing and presenting at events which discuss policy lessons

·      Experience writing and managing budgets

·      Proven ability to handle multiple diverse assignments at one time, successfully complete assigned tasks and meet deadlines while conducting high-quality work

·      Ability and willingness to travel internationally frequently and flexibly to support policy outreach, scoping research and training events. Most travel will be in sub-Saharan Africa and in addition to between cities in South Africa.


Highly advantageous:

·      Experience doing policy / research work in a range of countries in Sub-Saharan Africa is strongly preferred

·      Demonstrated ability to identify new, high-value opportunities and mobilise both internal and external stakeholders towards working together on the given objective.

·      Experience leading policy outreach including strategically identifying and mobilizing appropriate policymakers, and developing and maintaining these relationships

·      Experience with randomised evaluations, particularly field experience running randomised evaluations of social policies/programmes and policy experience interpreting and sharing policy lessons from randomised evaluations

·      Experience fundraising and writing fundraising proposals

·      Data analysis skills, particularly in Stata

French language ability

Level of Language Proficiency


French (advantagous)

Professional Level


Minimum Education Required

Master's degree

How To Apply

To apply, please e-mail the documents listed below in a single pdf file to Ms Abigail Dixon at

·      UCT Application Form (download at;

·      A letter of motivation clearly addressing your qualifications for the various responsibilities listed above;

·      Curriculum Vitae (CV); and

·      Transcripts of your grade 12 certificate and university degrees. Note: this is required even though it is not called for in the HR201. 


Please ensure the title and reference number are indicated in the subject line.

All applicants must have South African work authorisation.

An application which does not comply with the above requirements will be regarded as incomplete and will not be considered. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted and shortlisted candidates will be required to do a competency assessment.

Telephone:                021 650 1673             Departmental Website:    


Reference number:   E18206                                 Closing date:                         1 July 2018


UCT is committed to the pursuit of excellence, diversity and redress in achieving its equity targets. Our Employment Equity Policy is available at


UCT reserves the right not to appoint.