Assessing the future after Pakistan’s debt crisis

Four panel members speaking

Asim Ijaz Khwaja (from left), Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, Reza Baqir, and Carmen M. Reinhart discussed the macroeconomic challenges facing Pakistan. Photo courtesy of HKS

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Pakistan’s top government finance officials joined Harvard Kennedy School professors in weighing policy choices to improve economic growth in the wake of the country’s recent debt crisis.

At a conference on the Harvard campus this month, Pakistan’s financial authorities struck tones of optimism based on tough steps they have taken, including monetary tightening, even before the $6 billion IMF bailout in June; Harvard faculty said the policies need to remain consistent, in line with the World Bank assessment that Pakistan’s “medium-term growth outlook hinges upon the country’s ability to implement necessary structural reforms to boost competitiveness and achieve sustained growth.”

Pakistan’s Minister for Finance, Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, and the Governor of the State Bank of Pakistan, Reza Baqir,  were joined by by Carmen M. Reinhart, Minos A. Zombanakis Professor of the International Financial System and a former deputy director of the IMF. Sumitomo-FASID Professor of International Finance and Development Asim Ijaz Khwaja, director of Harvard’s Center for International Development (CID), moderated.

The event was the inaugural Pakistan Development Forum, co-hosted by Evidence for Policy Design (EPoD), a research program within CID, and the Centre for Economic Research in Pakistan (CERP), a Pakistan-based think tank.