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WEBCAST: Economic Implications of COVID-19 for South Asia

Date & Time

May. 14, 2020
9:30am – 11:00am ET

WEBCAST: Economic Implications of COVID-19 for South Asia

South Asia hosts more than a fifth of the world's population and contributes more than 15 percent of global economic growth. It also suffers from high rates of poverty and inequality, as well as major infrastructure and connectivity constraints. For these and other reasons, some experts believe South Asia will be hit quite hard economically by the COVID-19 pandemic. A recent World Bank study predicts that South Asia may experience its worst economic performance in 40 years, and that half the region could experience a serious recession. This online-only event features economists from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan. It will focus on potential short and longer term economic impacts of COVID-19 in those countries, how governments should respond, and what economic stress in the region could mean for the world on the whole.

Please note: this event will be online only.  There will be a live webcast on this page.  You may submit questions for the panelists by emailing or on Twitter by tagging @AsiaProgram.  

About the Speakers

Dr. Azam Chaudhry is professor of economics and dean of the Faculty of Economics at the Lahore School of Economics in Lahore, Pakistan. He teaches undergraduate and graduate econometrics and macroeconomics. His research interests include innovation and technological change, institutional economics, economic growth and development, economic and social networks, and political economy. His current projects include studies of innovation in Pakistan’s textile sector and barriers to industrial upgrading.

Dr. Omar Joya is an economist and head of research at the Biruni Institute, an economic policy research organization in Kabul, Afghanistan. He is also a visiting research fellow at Oxford and an affiliated researcher with the University of Bordeaux’s research unit. He has worked for the World Bank as a country economist for Afghanistan and he has served as an assistant professor of economics at the American University of Afghanistan. He also worked for the Central Bank of Afghanistan and the Afghanistan Investment Support Agency.

Nazir Kabiri is executive director of the Biruni Institute. Previously, he was a senior policy advisor to Afghanistan’s finance ministry. This work entailed inputs on the reform agenda, public finance management, aid effectiveness, capacity building, and regional economic cooperation. He was also a key interlocutor in the ministry for international institutions and bilateral donors. Additionally, he worked with nongovernment organizations and international donors, including the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development, or DFID.

Dr. Ahsan Mansur is founding and executive director of the Policy Research Institute in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Previously, he had a long career at the International Monetary Fund that entailed work on countries in Africa, Asia, Central America, and the Middle East. His positions included postings in Bangladesh, where he was fiscal advisor to the finance minister, but also in Kuwait, Oman, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia. Earlier in his career, he was a lecturer with the Department of Economics at Dhaka University.

Dr. Ila Patnaik is a professor at the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy in New Delhi, India. Previously, she was the principal economic advisor to the government of India. She has also held posts at the National Council of Applied Economic Research and the Indian Council for Research in International Economic Relations, and she was an economics editor at the Indian Express newspaper. Her main area of interest is open economy macroeconomics, including issues related to capital flows, exchange rates, and monetary policy. 

Michael Kugelman is Asia Program deputy director and senior associate for South Asia at the Woodrow Wilson Center. He is responsible for research, programming, and publications on South Asia. His specialty areas include Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, and U.S. relations with each of them. His recent projects have focused on India's foreign policy, U.S.-India relations, India-Pakistan relations, the war in Afghanistan, and U.S. policy in South Asia. He is a regular contributor to publications that include Foreign Policy, The National Interest, and


Azam Chaudhry

Professor of Economics and Dean of Faculty of Economics, Lahore School of Economics (Pakistan)

Nazir Kabiri

Executive Director, Biruni Institute (Afghanistan)

Omar Joya

Head of Research, Biruni Institute (Afghanistan)

Ahsan Mansur

Executive Director, Policy Research Institute (Bangladesh)

Ila Patnaik

Professor, National Institute of Public Finance and Policy (India)

Hosted By

Asia Program

The Asia Program promotes policy debate and intellectual discussions on U.S. interests in the Asia-Pacific as well as political, economic, security, and social issues relating to the world’s most populous and economically dynamic region.   Read more

Middle East Program

The Wilson Center’s Middle East Program serves as a crucial resource for the policymaking community and beyond, providing analyses and research that helps inform U.S. foreign policymaking, stimulates public debate, and expands knowledge about issues in the wider Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.  Read more

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