Pakistan: Dr. Shamshad Akhtar Prudent Choice As Caretaker Finance Minister – OpEd


In the current economic landscape, it is evident that the role of the Caretaker Finance Minister is strategically important in the team of the Caretaker Prime Minister. While following the prudent decision making process, the appointment of Dr Shamshad Akhtar as the Caretaker Finance Minister is commendable. 

Dr Akhtar’s track record showcases her adroitness in handling intricate economic scenarios, demonstrated notably during the 2008 global financial crisis when she served as Governor State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Governor, and again in 2018 during her tenure as the Caretaker Finance Minister.

As the Under-Secretary General of the Economic and Social Commission of the Asia and Pacific (UNESCAP) and the United Nations Secretary General’s Senior Special Advisor on Economics and Finance, Dr Akhtar oversaw the implementation of the sustainable development agenda including economic, social, and environmental and finance work of the UN Department of the Economic and Social Affairs.

During her term at UN, she was UN Secretary General’s Sherpa for Development and the Finance and Central Bank tracks. Among others, she was closely involved in the development and implementation of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda (SDG), the Addis Ababa Financing frameworks and work on the Paris Climate Accord and ensured closer alignment of G20 development agenda with the 2030 SDG agenda.

Dr Akhtar served as the Vice President, Middle East and North Africa at the World Bank, the Director General of Asian Development Bank (ADB) and served as the Special Senior Advisor to the President of ADB.

Dr Akhtar is recipient of Asia’s Best Central Bank Governor from Emerging Markets and the Banker’s Trust awards. In 2008, The Wall Street Journal Asia recognized her as one of Asia’s top ten professional women. Recently in 2020, she has been awarded the HUM Women’s Leadership Global Award.

Dr Akhtar in now serving as the Chairperson of few Boards in Pakistan: Chairperson of the Pakistan of Stock Exchange, Chairperson on the Board of Sui Sothern Gas Transmission and Distribution company, Chairperson of the Karandaaz – an innovative nonprofit company—grant funded by DFID/Bill Melinda to promote financial and digital inclusion, Chairperson, Pakistan Institute of Corporate Governance and as Independent Director, Engro Fertilizer Company and Advisor on Pakistan Environment Trust Fund.

Dr Akhtar is Member of the Advisory Council of the Sustainable Finance Centre at the SOAS at London University, Member of UN Global Women Leaders Group, served on G20 Task Force member of the Think Tank on Infrastructure during the Presidency of Japan, Saudi and Italian Government.

She served as an Advisor of SG Food Security and Financing for Development Group, one of the 12 Global Advisors to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on China on Belt and Road, Council of Advisor and Policy Sherpa for the Boao Forum for Asia and Advisor to the Shanghai Forum. 

She has conducted analytical work as Chair of the Pakistan Reform Insurance Committee, Capital Markets reforms and the Special Economic Zones etc. She serve as speaker on diverse set of international and national panel.

Shabbir H. Kazmi

Shabbir H. Kazmi is an economic analyst from Pakistan. He has been writing for local and foreign publications for about quarter of a century. He maintains the blog ‘Geo Politics in South Asia and MENA’. He can be contacted at [email protected]

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