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BRIEF June 14, 2019

South Asia Economic Policy Network

Text South Asia Economic Policy Network

  • The South Asia Economic Policy Network (the Network in what follows) was established in 2017. It serves as a platform for collaboration with South Asian think tanks, academics, researchers, policy advisors, policy influencers, and development partners. 

    The objective is to support an ongoing and more structured dialogue on issues affecting the development prospects of South Asia. The development challenges in the region are manifold and addressing them often means overcoming micro, macro, and political economy challenges. The Network advances the achievement of regional development priorities by, first, nurturing and enhancing the regional dialogue and, second, by deepening two-way knowledge sharing between the region and the World Bank. By doing so the Network also addresses the trust deficit between countries in South Asia and strengthens people-to-people relations. 

    The Network cofinances regional encounters, leverages South Asian expertise, shares knowledge with counterparts in the region and helps to navigate the political economy in South Asia. It strives for neutrality and contributes to the World Bank’s role as a source of unbiased expertise, as a receptive listener, and as a trusted broker in the exchange of ideas. The Network has had a tremendous start. A databank with over 400 economists has been assembled and there is a frequent interaction with the members of the Network. For example, a survey is sent out every six months and the results feed prominently into the biannual report South Asia Economic Focus.

    In addition, the Network is supporting different series of regional workshops and conferences, among others the South Asia Economic Summit, the South Asia Economic Students Meet, the Delhi Macroeconomics Workshop and the Sustainable Development Conference, Islamabad. For most events the Network mobilizes both funding and World Bank expertise. Moreover, the Network organizes and stages new joint activities with regional think tanks, academics and policy advisors, including the South Asia Economic Policy Network Conference series. Among others, it organized a workshop on ‘Jobless Growth’ with the India Statistical Institute with presenters from four South Asian countries (some of the discussed papers will be published in a special issue in the Indian Growth and Development Review).

    Similarly, in Fall 2018 the Network organized a workshop on ‘Fiscal Policy in South Asia’ with the Nepal Economic Forum in Kathmandu, Nepal. The event featured a keynote speech by the Finance Minister of Nepal and a wide audience of think tanks, academics, NGO’s and the media. In Spring 2019, the Network co-organized a conference on External Vulnerabilities in South Asia with the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, University of Colombo and the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) in Colombo, Sri Lanka. In Fall 2019 a conference on ‘Subnational Finances and Local Service Delivery in South Asia’ with the South Asia Network for Economic Modelling (SANEM) was organized in Dhaka, featuring a keynote speech by the Planning Minister of Bangladesh, as well as distinguished speakers from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. In Spring 2020 the Network organized a workshop on ‘State intervention in the Financial Sector in South Asia’ with the Centre for Financial Research and Learning (CAFRAL) in Mumbai that also featured an industry panel and a wide audience of think tanks, academics, NGO’s and the media.

  • Partner Organizations

    South Asia Economic Students Meet (SAESM): A unique and pioneering initiative that provides a platform to undergraduate students of the region. The goal is similar to that of other grass-roots initiatives such as the SAARC Chambers of Commerce, viz. to create an understanding of the value of regional cooperation that transcends narrow, short-term domestic political gains that has until now been the stumbling block for greater regional cooperation.

    Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI): An independent non-profit organization to serve as a source of expertise for policy analysis and development, policy intervention, and policy and program advisory services. SDPI provides the global sustainable development community with representation from Pakistan as well as South Asia as a whole. The SDPI’s mission is to catalyse the transition towards sustainable development, defined as the enhancement of peace, social justice and well-being, within and across generations. 

    South Asia Network on Economic Modelling (SANEM): A non-profit research organization which aims to promote objective and high quality research in the areas of international trade, macroeconomy, poverty, labour market, environment, political economy and economic modeling in Bangladesh. SANEM contributes to governments’ policy-making by providing research supports both at individual and organizational capacities. SANEM has maintained strong research collaboration with global, regional and local think-tanks, research and development organizations, universities, and individual researchers. 

  • Membership Request

    If you would like to become a member of the network, please send your personal details to South Asia Chief Economist Office at

    The personal details should include the following: name, address, institution, professional title, research interests, and resume attached.

    Membership to the Network: Based in South Asia and affiliated with university, think tank, research institute or similar.


    Funding Request

    If you are interested to apply for funding for an event, click here to download the Funding Proposal.

    Please submit your proposal to South Asia Chief Economist Office:


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