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Syed Akhtar Mahmood

Lead Private Sector Specialist, Trade & Competitiveness Global Practice
Syed Akhtar Mahmood is Lead Private Sector Specialist in the Trade & Competitiveness Global Practice of the World Bank Group (WBG), currently based in Vienna. Until recently, he acted as Global Lead for Business Regulations, and he is now leading the program on regulatory transparency. He is also part of the WBG’s global team on public-private dialogue. He conceived, set up and managed the WBG’s largest country program on investment climate (in Bangladesh, from 2007 to 2010) and was the co-author of the WBG’s Private Sector Development Strategy of 2002. In his 25-year career at the WBG, he has worked on privatization and state-owned-enterprise reforms in the former socialist economies of Eastern Europe and Central Asia and Africa, and on Private Sector Development issues in various regions of the world. In addition to the technical areas of trade, competitiveness and investment climate, he is also interested in the mechanics of policy reforms, including political economy, institutional and incentive issues in government, and stakeholder engagement. He earned his D.Phil. in Economics from the University of Oxford in 1989. His publications include The Political Economy of Development Policy Change (with Gustav Ranis), Blackwell 1991, which is a comparative study of East Asia and Latin America, and Direct Support to Private Firms: Evidence on Effectiveness (with Geeta Batra), World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 3170, November 2003.