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December 15, 2013
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Ban Ki-moon okayed Dr Shamshad Akhtar for UN post

December 15, 2013

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ISLAMABAD: Eminent economist and financial wizard Dr. Shamshad Akhtar has been appointed as Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) by the United Nations.
The former governor State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) earlier served as the UN Assistant Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs and Senior Adviser on Economic Development and Finance for two years.
Highly placed diplomatic sources told The News Saturday that Dr. Shamshad’s appointment had been formally approved by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. She is the first lady and economist from Pakistan to have attained this exalted office.
Dr. Shamshad Akhtar was Vice-President at the World Bank overseeing Middle East and North African issues. Between 2006 and 2009, she served as the Governor State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), holding the rank of federal minister.
She was the 14th Governor of the State Bank and the first woman to assume this position. Previously, she also held positions in the Asian Development Bank. In addition, she serves as the UN emissary for the G20.
Interestingly, Pakistan’s mission in the UN did not notice the honour bestowed on a distinguished Pakistani although the United Nations had notified the appointment with fair amount of pride.
Former senator and lawyer Ms. Saadia Abbasi who contested the so-called hijacking case against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in 1999-2000 has felicitated Dr. Shamshad Akhtar on becoming the one of the highest officials of the United Nations. She appreciated that the world body had acknowledged the stature and faculties of a lady from Pakistan but regretted that the Government of Pakistan had not mentioned her elevation to such an exalted position. Dr. Shamshad Akhtar has assumed the new office at the UN headquarters.
Dr. Shamshad Akhtar was born in Hyderabad, Sindh and prior to her appointment as the SBP governor she had been serving the Asian Development Bank (ADB)

as Director General Southeast Asia Department since January, 2004. Earlier, she was deputy director general of the department. She also held the position of Director, Governance, Finance and Trade Division for East and Central Asia Department of ADB.
Dr. Akhtar began her career in ADB in 1990 and rose to the position of manager in 1998 after serving as Senior and Principal Financial Sector Specialist. She had been ADB’s Coordinator for APEC Finance Ministers Group from 1998 to 2001 and has served on a number of ADB committees including the Reorganization Committee, Appeals Committee and Oversight Committee etc. She has interfaced and represented the Asian Development Bank at the Bank for International Settlements and the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO). She has developed a broad regional expertise in financial and economic matters of Central Asian Republics & Southeast Asia including the People’s Republic of China.
Before joining the ADB, Dr. Akhtar worked for 10 years as economist in the World Bank’s Resident Mission in Pakistan. In Pakistan, she also worked briefly with the planning offices of both the federal and Sindh Governments. She dealt with wide-ranging subjects which covered analysis of macroeconomic situation, finance and money and structural reforms of key sectors including the industry and agriculture.
Her work included papers on taxation system of Pakistan, state of inter-governmental fiscal relations, poverty incidence and its dimensions and foreign direct investment etc. Dr. Akhtar also contributed to the development of diversification of financial markets including the analysis of monetary policy and the state of banking industry (at the World Bank) and restructuring of the Securities & Exchange Commission, Insurance Commission and worked closely with the private sector including the stock exchanges of Pakistan. She has been advising the central banks on reforms of financial markets.
Dr. Akhtar has also been dealing with the banking sector’s legal, regulatory and institutional reforms while advising on diversification of the industry to exploit long-term funding through development of bond market.
Dr. Shamshad Akhtar had had her earlier education at Karachi and Islamabad. She graduated from the University of the Punjab with a B. A. Economics degree in 1974.
She did her M.Sc. in economics from the Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad, an M.A. in Development Economics from the University of Sussex in 1977 and a Ph.D. in economics from the UK.’s Paisley College of Technology in 1980. She is a post-doctoral fellowship Fulbright Scholar and was a visiting fellow at the Department of Economics, Harvard University in 1987.
In 1987, she attended Harvard University under Fulbright programme. She was appointed by the Secretary-General as Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development at DESA and took office on 9 July 2012.
She has presented numerous papers on economics and finance at international conferences/seminars/symposia. Her research interests are on monetary and fiscal policy, banking and capital market, international finance architecture, regulation and supervision, and industrial & corporate restructuring.
She previously served as Governor State Bank of Pakistan and also as Vice President of the Middle East and North Africa Region of the World Bank. In her capacity as governor, Ms. Akhtar served as the Chairperson of the Central Bank Board and its affiliates and as Governor of the IMF. During her term, she was recognized for the conduct of the bank, which was restructured significantly, the introduction of an analytical framework for monetary policy, and the development of a ten-year-vision for the finance industry with a vibrant structure for the banking sector. For these accomplishments, she won two consecutive awards as Asia’s Best Central Bank Governor from Emerging Markets and the Banker’s Trust. In 2008, The Asian Wall Street Journal also recognized her as one of the top ten professional women of Asia.
Ms. Akhtar has had a long standing career with the Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs). In her assignment for the World Bank she spearheaded the bank’s response to the Arab Spring and the Arab regional integration strategy and its implementation. She has served the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for almost 15 years, rising from the ranks as Senior Economist, to attaining the highest professional positions including as Special Senior Advisor to the President of ADB and as the bank’s Director General of the East Asia region.
During the Asian Financial crisis she also served as the ADB’s Coordinator to the APEC Finance Minister providing analytical support in a number of economic and social areas for crisis prevention and mitigation, while also leading the engagement with the Bank for International Settlement, and other standard setting bodies.

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