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Expert Panel | Driving South Asia’s Growth with Services and Digital Platforms

September 9, 2021

Virtual | Live



Watch the event replay by clicking on the link above

Thursday, September 9th | 6:15 AM PT | 9:15 AM EDT | 5:45 PM (Kabul) | 6:15 PM (Male, Islamabad) | 6:45 PM (New Delhi, Colombo) | 7:00 PM (Kathmandu) | 7:15 PM (Dhaka, Thimphu)

  • South Asian countries emphasize the manufacturing sector in their economic development plans, but breaking into manufacturing export markets at large scale may be an elusive goal.

    Join our LIVE expert panel to discuss these issues. Submit your questions to before the event and be part of the conversation.



    Opening remarks |

    Hartwig Schafer, Vice President for the South Asia Region, World Bank

    Hartwig Schafer became the World Bank’s Vice President for the South Asia Region on July 1, 2018. In managing the World Bank’s engagement in South Asia to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity, Schafer leads relations with Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. He manages a portfolio of financial support worth more than $50 billion. Before joining the region, Schafer served as the Vice President for Global Themes where he oversaw the World Bank Group’s engagement in corporate priority areas of Fragility, Conflict and Violence, Gender, Infrastructure, Public-Private Partnerships, Guarantees, Climate Change, and Knowledge Management.

    Panelists |

    Fareena Mazhar, Secretary, Board of Investment (BOI) of Pakistan

    Mrs. Fareena Mazhar, possesses a strong experience of more than thirty years, working as a Government officer in various organizations including Federal Board of Revenue, Ministry of Commerce, Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority and Board of Investment. During the last three years, while serving for Board of Investment as Additional Secretary/EDG, she was leading Ease of Doing Business initiatives. In this role, she led the business reforms exercise and helped Pakistan make an unprecedented 39 positions jump in DB Rankings in two years.

    Rubana Huq, Managing Director of Mohammadi Group and Ex-President, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association

    Mrs. Rubana Huq is the Managing Director of Mohammadi Group. She has been in the position for the last twenty years, actively empowering ten 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 along with Nagorik, a television channel. She was the first female president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA). Besides her corporate identity, Rubana is a poet, having won the SAARC literary award in 2006 and has a PhD in English Literature from Jadavpur University, India. Rubana was also chosen as one of the 100 women chosen by BBC for two consecutive years, 2013 & 2014. She is also a regular weekly columnist of The Daily Star, the English daily newspaper.

    Rupa Chanda, Professor of Economics & Social Sciences Area, Indian Institute of Management Bangalore and Ex-RBI Chair Professor

    Rupa Chanda is a Professor in Economics and Social Sciences at the Indian Institute of Management in Bangalore (IIMB). She has a Ph.D. in Economics from Columbia University, with a specialization in International Trade, and a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Harvard University. She currently holds an institute research chair and was the recipient of the ICFAI Best Teacher Award for 2006. Prior to joining IIMB, Dr. Chanda worked as an Economist at the International Monetary Fund in Washington, DC. Dr. Chanda’s research interests concern multilateral trade liberalization, the WTO and services, migration, child labour, and macroeconomic stabilization.

    Selim Raihan, Professor at the Department of Economics, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh and the Executive Director of the South Asian Network on Economic Modeling

    Professor Raihan is the Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the University of Manchester, UK. He is the alumni of the Harvard University’s program on “Cutting Edge of Development Thinking”. He possesses vast expertise in empirical research on international trade, economic growth, poverty, labour market, macroeconomic policies, political economy, and climate change issues. He has worked quite extensively on applied economics, especially assessing impacts of trade and economic policies, using country-specific and global Computable General Equilibrium (CGE) models, and micro and macro-econometric modelling and estimation techniques. He has published several journal articles, books, book chapters and working papers.

    Aaditya Mattoo, Chief Economist for the East Asia and Pacific Region, World Bank

    Aaditya Mattoo specializes in development, trade and international cooperation, and provides policy advice to governments.  He is also Co-Director of the World Development Report 2020 on Global Value Chains.  Prior to this he was the Research Manager, Trade and Integration, at the World Bank. Before he joined the Bank, Mr. Mattoo was Economic Counsellor at the World Trade Organization and taught economics at the University of Sussex and Churchill College, Cambridge University. He holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Cambridge, and an M.Phil in Economics from the University of Oxford. He has published on development, trade, trade in services, and international trade agreements in academic and other journals and his work has been cited in the Economist, Financial Times, New York Times, and Time Magazine.

    Moderator |

    Hans Timmer, Chief Economist for the South Asia Region, World Bank

    Hans Timmer is the World Bank's Chief Economist for South Asia. He assumed this position on January 1, 2019. Before that, he was the Chief Economist for the Europe and Central Asia region of the World Bank.  Under his management in ECA, a series of regional reports, most recently, Toward a New Social Contract and Critical Connections, and a series of regional economic updates are produced.  Prior to these positions, Timmer was Director of the World Bank's Development Prospects Group. Timmer is a quantitative international macroeconomist and econometrician with 30 years of management experience in leading teams of modelers, forecasters, and policy analysts. His experience ranges from long-term structural analyses of the economic impact of environmental policies, trade policies, and tax reforms, to short-term monitoring of the business cycle and analysis of monetary and fiscal policies.

  • Watch our virtual sessions featuring academic paper discussions and a keynote lecture by Laura Alfaro, Warren Alpert Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School.