Having served on key position in ADB, WB and UN, and known as one of the top professional women of Asia, she was also the first female appointed as Governor, State Bank of Pakistan in 2006
Dr. Shamshad Akhtar, former Governor, State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) and ex-caretaker finance minister, Dr. Shamshad Akhtar, was recently elected as the first female chairperson of the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX).
Shamshad Akhtar, who was appointed as an independent director on the board about a month back, was unanimously elected in a meeting, making her the first female chairperson of the PSX in its 73-year history.
In a statement, the PSX called her a “veteran of the financial markets of Pakistan”.
Shamshad, who was appointed as SBP governor in 2006, was involved in the restructuring process of banks in East Asian economies and interfaced regularly with the Bank of International Settlement on Basel Standards.
Born in Hyderabad, Sindh, Shamshad Akhtar is a Sindhi and hails from the village of Haji Nathar Detho of Naushahro Feroze District. Her father Aziz Akhtar was an engineer, who being in government service, held postings at different places. Dr. Akhtar had her earlier education at Karachi and Islamabad. She had an excellent academic record. She graduated from the University of Punjab with a B. A. Economics degree in 1974; 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 U.K.’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.
Dr. Shamshad Akhtar who took over as Governor, State Bank of Pakistan on 2nd January, 2006, was the first woman and the 14th Governor of the State Bank since its inception in July, 1948 bringing rich experience, both national and international, to her new assignment.
Prior to her appointment as SBP Governor, Dr. Akhtar had been serving the Asian Development Bank (ADB) as its 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. Shamshad 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 1998-2001 and served on a number of ADB committees including the Reorganization Committee, Appeals Committee and Oversight Committee etc. She had interfaced and represented the Asian Development Bank at the Bank for International Settlements and the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO). She had 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, she worked for 10 years as an 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 industry and agriculture. Her work included papers on taxation system of Pakistan, state of inter-governmental fiscal relations, poverty incidence & its dimensions and foreign direct investment etc. Dr. Shamshad Akhtar also contributed to the development of diversification of financial markets including the analysis of monetary policy and 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. She had 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 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.
Dr. Shamshad Akhtar served as the Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and as the tenth Executive Secretary of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific from 2014 to 2018.
Formerly the Secretary-General’s Senior Advisor on Economics and Finance, and Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development at the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, she led the UN-wide coordination of the post-2015 development agenda and related policy and normative work, including supporting work on the Sustainable Financing Strategy.
She also served as Vice President of the Middle East and North Africa Region of the World Bank. In her capacity as Governor SBP, Dr. Akhtar was also the Chairperson of the Central Bank Board and its affiliates, as well as a Governor of the IMF. During her term of office, she was recognized for the success of the Bank and won two consecutive awards as Asia’s Best Central Bank Governor from Emerging Markets and from the Banker’s Trust. In 2008, The Wall Street Journal Asia also recognized her as one of the top ten professional women of Asia.
She has also served as a member of the Pakistan Economic Advisory Committee and of the Governing Council of the Pakistan Statistics Bureau. In addition, Ms. Akhtar has advised development agencies on the operationalization of Pakistan’s New Economic Growth Framework, and has also worked on Public Private Partnership (PPP) policy frameworks and governance issues.
Dr. Shamshad Akhtar, who served as Vice President of the Middle East and North Africa Region of the World Bank, spearheaded the Bank’s response to the Arab Spring as well as the Arab regional integration strategy and its implementation.
Dr. Shamshad Akhtar was offered to join PTI’s federal cabinet but she refused for certain reasons.