Vaqar Ahmed

Dr. Vaqar Ahmed is the Joint Executive Director at Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI). Earlier, he has served UNDP as Advisor, and has undertaken assignments with Asian Development Bank, World Bank, and Ministries of Finance, Planning and Commerce in Pakistan. Between 2009 and 2011, he was the Head of Macroeconomics Section in Planning Commission of Pakistan, which is responsible for the formulation of annual, medium and perspective development programmes. He remained the technical associate and member of the task forces, constituted by the Government of Pakistan, including Advisory Panel of Economists (2008), Task Force on Private Sector Development (2009), Working Group on Macroeconomic Framework for Tenth Five Year Plan 2010-15, and Working Group on Social Sector Development for Pakistan Vision 2025. 

He has published extensively in areas such as macroeconomic modeling, inclusive growth and infrastructure reforms, trade and taxation policies, regional trade agreements, trade in services, energy governance, border-related trade infrastructure, youth employment, women-led social enterprises, and social safety nets. His book 'Pakistan's Agenda for Economic Reforms' was published by the Oxford University Press in 2018.

He is the visiting faculty member and researcher in different international institutes, including the National University of Ireland, IMT Institute of Advanced Studies in Italy and Pakistan Institute of Trade and Development. His PhD students are working on, economy-wide evaluation of regional trade agreements, simulating growth and welfare impact of infrastructure and investment policies.  

At regional level, he is leading SDPI’s programme on sustainable trade and investment diplomacy. He was Lead Organizer for 5th South Asia Economic Summit in 2012 and 2015 with policy recommendations framed for eight South Asian governments and South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Secretariat. His recent research on regional issues includes: evaluation of Pakistan – Sri Lanka free trade agreement, non-tariff barriers in India-Pakistan trade, informal trade between India and Pakistan, trade in health services, trade and transit cooperation between Afghanistan and Pakistan, South Asian value chains, and intra-regional foreign direct investment in South Asia.

Apart from South Asian countries (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal), he has worked in, Africa (Kenya, South Africa) on evaluation of improved food technology, United States (International Monetary Fund Fellowship Programme), European Union (Ireland, France, Germany and Italy) on welfare impact of trade reforms, and Far East (Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines) on assignments related to South-South exchange and learning. 

Currently, he serves as a member on the following boards, committees and working groups: 

  • Member, Advisory Board, Creative Cities Initiative, British Council, UK

  • Member, Advisory Penal, Research and Advocacy for the Advancement of Allied Reforms (RAFTAAR), 2015-2016  

  • Fellow, CSO Group, International Monetary Fund [2014 and 2015]

  • Member, Planning Commission’s Vision 2025 working group, Planning Commission, Government of Pakistan (2013)

  • Member, Economy of Tomorrow Programme, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, Pakistan

  • Member, Think Tank of Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FPCCI) Pakistan (2015).

  • Member, Research Advisory Board, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (since 2011). 

  • Member, Research Supervisory Committee, Health Services Academy Pakistan (since 2012).

  • Member/Secretary, Working Group on Macroeconomic Framework for 10th Five Year Plan for Pakistan 2011-12, Planning Commission of Pakistan. 

  • Member/Secretary, Working Group on Macroeconomic Framework for Medium Term Development Framework 2005-10, Planning Commission of Pakistan.

  • Technical Associate, Penal of Economists, constituted by the Prime Minister of Pakistan 2009. Prime Minister’s Secretariat, Islamabad. 

  • Technical Associate, Task Force on Private Sector Development, constituted by the Finance Minister 2009.

  • Member / Focal Point (Macroeconomics), National Accounts Committee, Federal Bureau of Statistics, Statistics Division, Government of Pakistan (Since 2003).

  • Technical Associate, Integrated Energy Model for Pakistan, Asian Development Bank 

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Dr. Ahmed holds a PhD in Economics from National University of Ireland. He tweets @vaqarahmed and can be contacted at

 Download the CV.

Fields of specialization

Poverty and inequality , Education and training, Impacts of government programs, Fiscal policy, Labour markets and employment, Globalization and trade


Title Country Themes
Southern Researchers Marginalisation at the Global, Regional and National Economic Development Consulting Business South Africa Globalization and trade
Simulations of policy responses and interventions to promote inclusive adaptation to and recovery from the COVID-19 crisis in Pakistan Pakistan Health and nutrition
RFP - Examining the Impact of Early Childbearing on Labor Market Outcomes Brazil Labour markets and employment , Youth and children
Simulating the Distributive Impacts of Different Growth Strategies in Pakistan Pakistan Fiscal policy
Simulating the Distributive Impacts of Different Growth Strategies in the Philippines Philippines Fiscal policy
Global Financial Crisis, MDGs and Choices for Pakistan’s Inclusive Development Pakistan Poverty and Inequality , Globalization and trade
Taxation Reforms: A CGE-Microsimulation Analysis for Pakistan Pakistan Fiscal policy
Modelling Gender aspects of Policy Reforms in Bangladesh: A Study in a Sequential Dynamic CGE Framework Bangladesh Gender & women’s empowerment , Poverty and Inequality , Labour markets and employment , Globalization and trade


Dr Vaqar Ahmed
Joint Executive Director
Sustainable Development Policy Institute

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