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11 Dec, 2013

Pakistani Economist To Head UN’s Asia-Pacific Regional Development Arm


United Nations, (UN News Centre) Dec 10 2013 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has appointed seasoned economist Shamshad Akhtar of Pakistan as the new head of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).

Ms. Akhtar will succeed Noeleen Heyzer of Singapore, who will continue to serve as Special Adviser of the Secretary General for Timor-Leste.

Since 2012, Ms. Akhtar has served as the Secretary-General’s Senior Advisor on Economic Development and Finance and as Assistant Secretary-General in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA).

She has over 30 years of broad experience as an economist with “an impressive track record of policymaking and implementation in the economic, development and finance fields both at the country and regional level,” according to the announcement of her appointment.

She brings with her broad Asia experience having advised and structured operations across a number of Asian economies, and been involved in a range of regional cooperation forums including Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). She was rated as one of the top 10 Asian Professional women and won international awards for her exemplary role as Governor of Central Bank in Pakistan.

In the multinational arena, Shamshad Akhtar served at the World Bank as Vice-President for the Middle East and North Africa (2009-2011) and the Asian Development Bank as Special Senior Adviser to the President (2009),Director and Deputy Director General, South East Asia (2002-2005) as well as Director, Governance, Finance and Trade Division concurrently heading the Secretariat of APEC (1998-2002).

Born in 1954, Shahmshad Akhtar holds a Post Doctoral Fellow and US Fulbright Scholarship at the Department of Economics, Harvard University (1986-1987); PhD Economics, Scholarship and Degree from the UK Government Council of National Academic Award (1978-1980)and PhD, University of Paisley. She further holds a Masters of Art Degree in Development Economics, University of Sussex (1977), MSc (Economics), University of Islamabad (1975) and Bachelor of Arts (Economics), University of Punjab (1972-1974).

Headquartered in Bangkok, ESCAP serves a region that is home to 4.1 billion people. It works to overcome some of the region’s greatest challenges by providing projects, technical assistance and capacity building to member countries in areas such as trade and investment, transport, social development, and environment and sustainable development.

The body is made up of 53 Member States and 9 Associate Members, with a geographical scope that stretches from Turkey in the west to the Pacific island nation of Kiribati in the east, and from Russia in the north to New Zealand in the south.

Click here to see interview with Shamshad Akhtar on United Nations Millennium Development Goals