A Development economist, diplomat and intellectual, Dr. Shamshad Akhtar Detho was born in the city of Hyderabad, Sindh. She is a Sindhi and hails from the village of Haji Nathar Detho in Naushahro Feroze District. She had her earlier education at Karachi and Islamabad.
Dr. Akhtar graduated from the University of the Punjab with a BA Economics degree in 1974. She earned her MSc in economics from the Quaid-i-Azam University, an MA in Development Economics from the University of Sussex in 1977 and a PhD in economics from the UK’s Paisley College of Technology in 1980. Dr. Shamshad is the recipient of a Post Doctoral Fellowship from Harvard University on Fulbright Program.
Initially, Dr. Shamshad Akhtar worked at the World Bank’s Resident Mission in Pakistan for a decade before moving to the Asian Development Bank where she served as the Director General Southeast Asia Department.
She was also appointed as the United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs and Senior Adviser on Economic Development and Finance to the UN Secretary General. Prior to that, in 2009-2011, she was Vice President at the World Bank overseeing Middle East and North African region. In addition, she serves as the United Nations Sherpa for the G20.
Dr. Shamshad Akhtar serves as the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, an office equivalent to the Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations. Prior to that, she served as the 14th Governor of the State Bank of Pakistan being the first woman to assume this position.