Head, UNESCAP South and South-West Asia Office, India
Dr. Nagesh Kumar is Director and Head of the South and South-West Asia (SSWA) Office of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) based in New Delhi. He earlier served as Chief Economist of UNESCAP and Director of Macroeconomic Policy and Development Division and Director of Social Development Division, at the UNESCAP headquarters in Bangkok.
Before joining UNESCAP in 2009, Dr. Kumar served as Director-General of Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS), a New Delhi-based policy think-tank of the Government of India devoted to international economic and development issues for seven years. During 1993-1998, Dr. Kumar served on the faculty of the United Nations University-Institute for New Technologies in Maastricht, Netherlands and directed its research programme on Globalization, FDI and technology transfers. He has also served as a consultant to the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, UNDP, UNCTAD, UNIDO, UN-DESA, ILO, the Commonwealth Secretariat, and the Commission on Intellectual Property Rights, among others.
Dr. Kumar has served on the board of directors of the Export-Import Bank of India, and on the Governing Boards of the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD), Geneva; the South Asia Centre for Policy Studies (SACEPS), Kathmandu; and the Institute of Studies in Industrial Development, New Delhi, besides a number of committees, task forces and expert groups set up by the Government of India. Dr. Kumar was nominated by the Indian Government on the Track-II Study Group on Comprehensive Economic Partnership of East Asian Countries (CEPEA), and the Expert Group on Economic Research Institute on ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) set up in 2007 by the leaders of the East Asia Summit. He chaired the regional study group set up by the SAARC Secretariat that prepared a blueprint for liberalization of trade in services in South Asia leading to the signing of the South Asian Agreement on Trade in Services (SATIS) in 2010, and an ERIA study group on infrastructure development in East Asia in 2008.
A PhD in Economics from the Delhi School of Economics, Dr. Kumar is the recipient of the Exim Bank of India’s first International Trade Research Award in 1989 and a GDN Medal for best research awarded by the World Bank and the Japanese Government in 2000.
Dr. Kumar has written extensively on the development cooperation, developmental impact of FDI, industrial and technological development policies, the challenge of new technologies for development, on regional economic co-operation in Asia, and on WTO and development, among other themes, resulting into 15 books and over 90 research papers in international and national peer-reviewed journals, among other publications. His recent books include: Asia's New Regionalism and Global Role (Singapore: ISEAS, 2008); International Competitiveness and Knowledge-based Industries in India (Oxford University Press, 2007); India-ASEAN Economic Relations: Meeting the Challenges of Globalization(Singapore: ISEAS, 2006); Towards an Asian Economic Community: Vision of a New Asia, (Singapore: ISEAS, 2005); Reforms, Labour Markets and Social Security in India (Oxford University Press, 2004); Protecting Foreign Investment: Implications of a WTO Regime and Policy Options (Zed Press, London, 2003); Globalization and the Quality of Foreign Direct Investment (Oxford University Press, 2002).
He co-founded the South Asia Economic Journal (published by Sage) and was its co-editor during 2000-2009. He has written popular columns in Business Standard, Financial Express, the Economic Times, leading financial dailies published from New Delhi.
Research Director, Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS)
Dr. Binayak Sen is currently a Research Director of the Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS), the premier public think-tank of the country. He has obtained his MA in Economics from the Moscow Lomonosov State University in 1982, and a Ph.D. in Economics from the Institute of Oriental Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, in 1985. He was awarded a Visiting Research Fellowship at the Research Administration Department of the World Bank in 1992. He has taught development economics at the undergraduate level in BRAC University, North-South University, Institute of Humanities and Social Sciences of the National University and University of Dhaka in the Department of Journalism. His major areas of research include inclusive development, chronic poverty, income inequality, middle class, human development, labor market, social protection, economic history, and political economy. He has published more than 40 research papers in peer-reviewed journals and/or as chapters in edited books. In his professional career, he has led over 15 research projects in the above-mentioned areas. He has co-authored papers with distinguished academics and experts in the field of development economics and his papers have been published in peer-reviewed economic journals and in books from peer-reviewed international publishing houses in the broad areas of development economics.