Former World Bank Economist Dr. Ishrat Husain Speaks at Asia Society Texas Roundtable
HOUSTON, December 15, 2021 – Asia Society Texas welcomed internationally renowned economist Dr. Ishrat Husain for a roundtable discussion reflecting on the state of the global economy, particularly on Pakistan. Dr. Husain is a former World Bank director and former governor of the Central Bank of Pakistan, and until recently served as advisor to Pakistan’s current Prime Minister Imran Khan on institutional reforms and austerity.
Following a light breakfast, Dr. Husain opened the roundtable with remarks on the global economic crisis prompted by COVID-19, including supply chain disruptions and worker shortages. He attributed growing inflation to increased aggregate demand, and shared that he believes the World Bank and European Central Bank had effectively contained the economic crisis in terms of inflation, but mentioned that how quickly the U.S. Federal Reserve chooses to taper quantitative easing (QE) will affect developing countries.
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Speaking about Pakistan, Dr. Husain highlighted the unique issues the country faces including a high deficit and production that did not keep up with demand, which he said drove an increase in imports and an inflation rate of 8.9 percent. He spoke on the need to return to energy self-sufficiency and to finance green energy.
The audience then engaged with Dr. Husain on various topics such as how Pakistan should navigate the U.S.-China great power competition, the issue of accessing rare earth resources in Afghanistan, and questions around government stimulus amid COVID-19 both in the U.S. and in Pakistan. Dr. Husain shared his belief in the need for Pakistan to maintain good relations with both the U.S. and China and to fall into neither country’s camp, his hope for the world helping establish stability and provide humanitarian aid in Afghanistan before mining for rare earth minerals, and for governments to provide strong social safety nets in society.
Dr. Husain also briefly touched on the energy transition in developing countries, and highlighted Nigeria and South Africa as strong economies in Africa before concluding the morning discussion.
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About Asia Society Texas
Asia Society Texas believes in the strength and beauty of diverse perspectives and people. As an educational institution, we advance cultural exchange by celebrating the vibrant diversity of Asia, inspiring empathy, and fostering a better understanding of our interconnected world. Spanning the fields of arts, business, culture, education, and policy, our programming is rooted in the educational and cultural development of our community — trusting in the power of art, dialogue, and ideas to combat bias and build a more inclusive society.