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Masood Ahmed is president of the Center for Global Development. He joined the Center in January 2017, capping a 35-year career driving economic development policy initiatives relating to debt, aid effectiveness, trade, and global economic prospects at major international institutions including the IMF, World Bank, and DFID.
Ahmed joined CGD from the IMF, where he served for eight years as director, Middle East and Central Asia Department, earning praise from Managing Director Christine Lagarde as a "visionary leader." In that role, he oversaw the Fund's operations in 32 countries, and managed relationships with key national and regional policy makers and stakeholders. In previous years, he also served as the IMF's director of External Relations, and deputy director of the Policy Development and Review Department.
From 2003-2006, Ahmed served as director general, Policy and International at the UK government's Department for International Development (DFID). In that role, he was responsible for advising UK ministers on development issues and overseeing the UK's relationship with international development institutions such as the World Bank.
Ahmed also worked at the World Bank from 1979-2000 in various managerial and economist positions, rising to become Vice President, Poverty Reduction and Economic Management. In that role he led the HIPC (heavily indebted poor countries) debt relief initiative, which has to-date brought relief from debt burdens to 36 of the world's poorest nations.
Born and raised in Pakistan, Ahmed moved to London in 1971 to study at the LSE where he obtained a BSc Honors as well as an MSc Econ with distinction. He is a UK national.
Ahmed is a leading expert on Middle East economics, having served on the Advisory Board of the LSE Middle East Center, as well as on the World Economic Forum's Global Agenda Council on the Middle East and North Africa. He has also participated in CGD's Advisory Board.
He took over as CGD president from Nancy Birdsall, who served as the Center's founding president for its first 15 years from 2001 and will stay at the Center as a senior fellow.
The Birdsall House Conference Series on Women seeks to identify and bring attention to leading research and scholarly findings on women’s empowerment in the fields of development economics, behavioral economics, and political economy. On December 7th, academics, private sector representatives, and policymakers will turn to an issue that affects women in rich and poor countries alike: the ability to make informed, voluntary, and autonomous choices about childbearing, and the implications of reproductive choice as a lever to expand women’s economic and life prospects. Until recently, there has been a lack of rigorous empirical evidence on the links between contraceptive access and women’s economic empowerment in low- and middle-income countries. The 2017 Birdsall House Conference will feature new findings on this relationship alongside existing evidence from the United States.
The IMF Fiscal Affairs Department is launching a new book entitled Digital Revolutions in Public Finance. Offering the first detailed assessment of the impact of digital technology on fiscal policy, this publication is a landmark of a collaboration between the IMF’s Fiscal Affairs Department and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. It includes contributions from academics, former government officials and technologists, providing perspectives on how digitalization can revolutionize the design and implementation of fiscal policy—and on the risks and challenges that need to be faced.
This week, as world leaders meet in Washington, DC for the Annual Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, they will be discussing ways to reduce global poverty and inequality. At the Center for Global Development we're addressing the question, what are the next frontiers in global development?
China's Belt and Road Initiative aims to connect countries that account for 60 percent of the world's people and 30 percent of global GDP. How can we make sure it produces real and lasting benefits for developing countries that are involved? At this special mini-summit, co-hosted by CGD, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the Reinventing Bretton Woods Committee, we will bring together global leaders, including governments, multilateral development finance institutions and private banks to identify and discuss practical considerations for BRI partners, as well as challenges and solutions.
With more than 145 million people in need of humanitarian assistance, more than 65 million people forcibly displaced, growing risks of climate-driven natural hazards, food insecurity on the rise and four countries struggling to stave off famine, the global humanitarian system faces exceptional challenges. As needs outstrip funding, it is clear that traditional ways of doing business will not suffice. These global crises cannot be addressed without rethinking the link between humanitarian response and development assistance. CGD is delighted to welcome Mark Lowcock, less than two months into his new position as the Emergency Relief Coordinator and Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs. As the UN system’s lead for global relief activities, he is charged with coordinating how humanitarian agencies respond and work together to address global emergencies. After delivering remarks, he will join CGD president Masood Ahmed to discuss successes, challenges, priorities, and reforms for the global humanitarian system in a time of urgent and growing need.
On the day the Trump Administration proposed considerable cuts to the US international affairs budget, including US funding for the UN, CGD hosted the outgoing head of the UN’s largest agency, UNDP Administrator Helen Clark. As she prepares to step down after eight years in the post, she will leave behind a UN system facing serious questions about its future capabilities and financing. That idea, in fact, informed the title of our event Facing Future Challenges on Uncertain Ground, the video of which you can watch here.
The World Bank’s Global Economic Prospects 2018 recognizes that the global economy is enjoying a long-awaited broad-based cyclical recovery. In this favorable environment, the Bank expects growth in emerging and developing countries to continue during the next couple of years. But this is no time for complacency. Forces depressing potential output growth will continue unless countered by structural policies. While most commentators focus on the recent cyclical upturn, the new World Bank report presents a sober analysis of long-term growth prospects. Director of the World Bank's Development Prospects Group, Ayhan Kose will give a brief presentation of the report and will then participate in the panel discussion, moderated by CGD president, Masood Ahmed.
Why aren't tobacco taxes being addressed more forcefully and in more countries? Evidence suggests that tobacco taxes can be extremely effective—the cost is very low relative to the revenues and fully justified by the health gains.
2017 brings both new energy and new challenges for international cooperation. Major donors are questioning the value of globalism, while the UN system anticipates change under a new Secretary-General and with new heads of agencies—including the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).
I am thrilled to start work today as part of the CGD team. I look forward to leading this remarkable institution in the years to come and to forging ever stronger partnerships with all of you—the larger community of CGD experts, alumni, board members, donors, partner institutions, and friends and well-wishers alike.
When the world’s finance ministers and central bank governors assemble in Washington later this month. they would do well to focus on another looming debt crisis that could hit some of the poorest countries in the world, many of whom are also struggling with problems of conflict and fragility and none of which has the institutional capacity to cope with a major debt crisis without lasting damage to their already-challenged development prospects.