How Can South Asia's Firms Better Compete?
October 6, 2016MC 13-301


South Asia is hot on the heels of East Asia to become the world’s next middle-income region. But to catch its neighbors, South Asia and its firms – especially in industries such as light manufacturing, auto and agribusiness - will need to compete on a global scale. This event highlights South Asian countries with great potential for improving the region's competitiveness. Global thought leaders, business leaders and policy makers will share best practices from the region and discuss challenges unique to South Asian businesses.

  • Indrajit Coomaraswamy

    Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka
    Indrajit Coomaraswamy born on April 03, 1953 had his early education at Royal College, Colombo and he completed his scholastic career at Harrow School. Subsequently, he obtained Bachelor of Art and Master’s Degrees from Cambridge University and his D Phil. Degree from the University of Sussex. Coomaraswamy joined the Central Bank of Sri Lanka in 1973 as a Staff Officer and served as such for 16 years in its Economic Research, Statistics and Bank Supervision Divisions until 1989 and he was seconded to the Ministry of Finance and Planning between 1981 and 1989 to advise on Macroeconomic issues and Structural Reforms. He worked at the Commonwealth Secretariat from 1990 to 2008 holding various posts including Chief Officer, Economics in the International Finance and Capital Markets Section; Director of Economic Affairs Division; and Deputy Director of the Secretary- General’s Office. Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy, widely experienced nationally and internationally in both Public and Private Sectors was appointed Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka on July 4, 2016.
  • Annette Dixon

    Vice President, South Asia Region, World Bank Group
    Annette Dixon is the World Bank Vice President for the South Asia Region. She has been in the position since December 15, 2014. In managing the World Bank’s engagement in South Asia to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity, Annette leads relations with eight countries including India, the institution’s biggest client. She oversees lending operations and Trust-Funded projects worth more than $10 billion a year. Before joining the region, Annette was Director, Strategic Planning in the Budget, Performance Review and Strategic Planning Vice Presidency. Her career at the World Bank has included senior positions that have given her broad and deep experience with sectors, countries and management issues within the World Bank Group. A citizen of New Zealand, Annette joined the Bank in 1999 as a Sector Manager in Human Development in the Europe and Central Asia (ECA) Region. She has since held various leadership positions, including Sector Director of Human Development and Strategy and Operations Director in ECA.
  • Kim Elliott

    Senior Fellow, Center for Global Development
    Kimberly Ann Elliott is a Senior Fellow with the Center for Global Development and the author or co-author of numerous books and articles on trade policy and globalization, economic sanctions, and food security. In 2009-10 she chaired the CGD working group that produced the report, Open Markets for the Poorest Countries: Trade Preferences that Work, and before that, authored the book Delivering on Doha: Farm Trade and the Poor, which was co-published in July 2006 by CGD and the Peterson Institute for International Economics. Elliott was with the Peterson Institute for many years before joining the Center full-time. Her books published there include Can International Labor Standards Improve under Globalization? (with Richard B. Freeman, 2003), Corruption and the Global Economy (1997), Reciprocity and Retaliation in US Trade Policy (with Thomas O. Bayard, 1994), Measuring the Costs of Protection in the United States (with Gary Hufbauer, 1994), and Economic Sanctions Reconsidered (with Gary Hufbauer and Jeffrey Schott, 3rd. ed., 2007). She served on a National Research Council committee on Monitoring International Labor Standards and on the USDA Consultative Group on the Elimination of Child Labor in US Agricultural Imports, and is currently a member of the National Advisory Committee for Labor Provisions in US Free Trade Agreements. Ms. Elliott received a Master of Arts degree, with distinction, in security studies and international economics from the Johns Hopkins University, School of Advanced International Studies (1984) and a Bachelor of Arts degree, with honors in political science, from Austin College (1982). In 2004, Austin College named her a Distinguished Alumna.
  • Anabel González

    Senior Director, Trade & Competitiveness, World Bank Group
    Anabel González is Senior Director of the World Bank Group Global Practice on Trade and Competitiveness. In this capacity, she leads a team of 500 people to design and implement the World Bank Group's global and country agenda in the areas of trade, investment climate, competitiveness, innovation and entrepreneurship. Ms. González served as Costa Rica’s Minister of Foreign Trade from 2010 to 2014. During her tenure, she led Costa Rica’s efforts to join the OECD, negotiated, approved, and implemented six major free trade agreements, and implemented investment climate enhancement policies that contributed to attracting over 140 new investment projects. Ms. González is the current Chair of the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Competitiveness.
  • Rubana Huq

    Managing Director, Mohammadi Group, Bangladesh
    Rubana Huq is the Managing Director of Mohammadi Group. She has been in the position for the last nineteen years, actively empowering seven thousand women who manufacture and export a million pieces of ready-made garments every month. She heads MG Properties Limited, the Real Estate Division of the group. She also engaged in media as a CEO of TV Southasia uplinked from Kolkata, India from 2006-2010 and is also in the process of launching a new television channel, Nagorik in Nov 2016. Besides her corporate identity, Rubana is a poet, having won the SAARC literary award in 2006 and is currently a PhD candidate at Jadavpur University, India.
  • Pravin Krishna

    Professor of International Economics and Business, Johns Hopkins University
    Pravin Krishna is Chung Ju Yung Distinguished Professor of International Economics and Business at Johns Hopkins University (School of Advanced International Studies and Department of Economics), Visiting Senior Research Scholar and Deputy Director of the Deepak and Neera Raj Center for Indian Economic Policy at Columbia University and Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER). Professor Krishna’s fields of research interest are international economics, political economy, economic development and the political economy of India. He has published articles in a number of scholarly journals including the American Economic Review, Journal of Political Economy, the Quarterly Journal of Economics, the Review of Economic Studies, the Journal of International Economics and the Journal of Development Economics. He is the author of Trade Blocs: Economics and Politics (Cambridge University Press, 2005). Professor Krishna holds a bachelors degree in engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Bombay and a PhD in Economics from Columbia University. He has previously held appointments at Brown University, the University of Chicago, Princeton University and Stanford University and has served as a consultant to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
  • Anubha Bhonsle

    Anubha Bhonsle is an award-winning journalist from India. She is the Executive Editor, CNN-News18, currently based in Washington, D.C, where she is continuing her work on the intersection of gender, violence and development as a Fulbright Humphrey Fellow. Anubha is the author of Mother, Where’s My Country, a work of reportage from Manipur, a state that lives under the shadow of the gun. She has a body of work reporting for 17 odd years on politics and conflict. In recent years, she has worked extensively from areas of strife in Jammu & Kashmir and India’s North East, home to multiple insurgencies, where she focused on the intersection of civil society movements, gender and human rights. She is a recipient of the Chameli Devi Jain Award for Outstanding Woman Media Person in 2014 for a body of work that included uncovering a litany of terror and rape in riot-hit Muzaffarnagar. The Jury at the New York Film Festival has commended her reportage from Manipur that uncovered extra-judicial killings by the Armed Forces. She is a recipient of the prestigious Ramnath Goenka award for her work on funding of political parties. Anubha has previously worked for NDTV and The Indian Express. She is also a contributor to Wilson Centre, Women Under Siege and the Atlantic Magazine. She tweets at @anubhabhonsle and much of her work can be found on

Please register in advance by October 4 in order to attend this event in-person. 

This event is being streamed live on World Bank Live

Follow this event online with the hashtag #SouthAsiaCompetes.