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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.
What's going to happen in the world of development in 2018? Will we finally understand how to deal equitably with refugees and migrants? Or how technological progress can work for developing countries? Or what the impact of year two of the Trump Administration will be? Today’s podcast, our final episode of 2017, raises these questions and many more as a multitude of CGD scholars share their insights and hopes for the year ahead.
I was recently invited to participate in a panel discussion, titled “Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Human Labor” at the 10th edition of World Policy Conference. Preparing for this panel provided me with an opportunity to think more deeply about the ways in which artificial intelligence (AI) and automation will impact the future of work. And I came to five main conclusions.
On December 7th, academics, private sector representatives, and policymakers 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 features 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. The event’s panel discussion will center around fundamental questions raised in the book, which makes the case that by transforming how we collect, process, and act on information, it can expand and reshape the way we operate within the frontiers of policymaking, allowing us to do what we do now, but better—and perhaps before too long, even design fiscal policy in new ways. The book also explores the institutional challenges and capacity constraints faced by countries seeking to benefit from the digital revolution, as well as privacy and cybersecurity concerns, which call for greater international cooperation and regulation as information increasingly travels across borders.
What are the challenges and opportunities for growth in the Middle East, North Africa, Afghanistan and Pakistan (MENAP) region? In his presentation, Jihad Azour will present the IMF’s latest economic outlook for the MENAP region. He will argue that growth has not been fast enough and has not created sufficient opportunities to address high levels of unemployment. The presentation will be followed by a panel discussion on the main impediments to growth and highlight the policy priorities to durably increase it and make it more inclusive.
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.
To coincide with the launch of the IMF’s latest global economic forecasts, and following the G-20 Summit, please join IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde and CGD president Masood Ahmed for a conversation about challenges and trends ahead for the global economy.
What is the role of the IMF in ensuring inclusive growth and stability in the years to come, and how should it respond to ongoing and emerging issues, including fragile states, rising inequality, technological innovation, and the future of international economic cooperation? The discussion will focus on issues related to the future of the international economy.
In the current political and economic climate, donor governments are under pressure to reduce and spend foreign aid budgets as efficiently and effectively as possible. Aid remains a critical driver of progress. Yet at the same time, aid is increasingly NOT how the world pays for development; even the annual total of around $160 billion in overseas development assistance (ODA) represents a small and declining share of all global development finance. Private investment flows and developing countries' own public resources dwarf ODA. And while organizations like the World Bank and the UN still have top billing, commitment to their core missions appears to be weakening and regional alternatives are on the rise. Given these considerations, what is the future of development finance?
An increasingly common justification for European development assistance to Africa is the notion that it will reduce migration from the South. While this sounds intuitive and makes for an appealing argument, the research shows that it is highly unlikely. As communities become less poor, more people gain the abilities and wherewithal to undertake an expensive journey to a better life elsewhere. Development often increases migration—at least initially.
As she prepares to step down after eight years as UNDP Administrator and head of the UN Development Group, Helen Clark joins CGD President Masood Ahmed to reflect on recent gains and consider both new and longstanding challenges facing development agencies and the United Nations in particular in the years ahead.
Corruption can siphon desperately needed resources away from development, but as some anti-corruption advocates have found, taking on vested interests can come at a great personal risk to their livelihoods—or even their lives. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s new book, Fighting Corruption Is Dangerous: The Story Behind the Headlines, draws on her years as Nigeria’s Finance Minister to provide practical lessons on the difficult, sometimes-dangerous, always-necessary work of fighting graft and corruption.
Meet Masood Ahmed, CGD’s new president. On his first CGD Podcast, Ahmed shares some of the development lessons he's learned in his 35-year career and suggests ways for the development community to move forward in a new era of nationalism.
How do you make the case for US foreign aid to an Administration that has proposed slashing it? That was the task for Mark Suzman, Chief Strategy Officer and president of Global Policy and Advocacy for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, when he recently accompanied Bill Gates to meetings at the White House. In this week's CGD podcast, Suzman gives us two very different versions of the fight against global poverty and disease—the perception and the reality. At an event called Financing the Future, he joined CGD experts Masood Ahmed, Amanda Glassman, and Antoinette Sayeh to discuss ways the development community can better convey their results.
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.