Shamshad Akhtar Detho PhD (Urdu: ڈاکٹر شمشاد اختر) is a Pakistani development economist, diplomat and intellectual who serves as the Under-Secretary General of the United Nations as the head of UNESCAP. Prior to that, she served as the 14th Governor of the State Bank of Pakistan, the first woman to assume this position. She also served as a senior adviser to Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon and the vice-President of the World Bank.
Akhtar was born in Hyderabad, Sindh, Pakistan. She is a Sindhi and hails from the village of Haji Nathar Detho in Naushahro Feroze District. Akhtar had her earlier education at Karachi and Islamabad and graduated from the University of Punjab with a B.A. in 1974 followed by a M.A in economics from Quaid-e-Azam University in 1975.
She moved to the United Kingdom as a Commonwealth Scholarship to study development economics at the University of Sussex, receiving another M.A in 1977. She moved to the University of the West of Scotland (then-University of Paisley) where she was awarded a PhD in 1980.
Akhtar started her career in 1980 with the Planning Commission in Islamabad but moved few months later to work with the World Bank’s Resident Mission in Pakistan as a country economist. She left in 1986 for a year-long sabbatical to attend John F. Kennedy School of Government at the Harvard University as a postdoctoral researcher under the Fulbright Program.
In 1990, she moved to Manila to work as a senior economist for the Asian Development Bank and in 1996 and 1998 worked as Senior Financial Sector Specialist with the bank. In July 1996, she was promoted to Director and in June 2002 was put in-charge of ASEAN region.
On October 23, 2007, Akhtar was conferred Best Central Bank Governor for Asia 2007 by the Euromoney Institutional Investor. On November 11, 2008, Akhtar was named amongst the top ten women leaders in Asia by The Wall Street Journal.
In 2009, she re-joined the Asian Development Bank as a senior advisor to Haruhiko Kuroda. She moved to Washington, D.C. to World Bank and served as the Vice President Middle East and North Africa. During this period she spearheaded the bank’s response to the Arab Spring and the Arab regional integration strategy and its implementation. In September 2011, she moved to the United Nations to served as the Assistant Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs and Senior Adviser on Economic Development and Finance to the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. In December 2013, she was appointed as the 10th Executive Secretary of UNESCAP in Bangkok.
|Governor of State Bank of Pakistan||Succeeded by
Syed Salim Raza