Homi Kharas is a senior fellow in the Center for Sustainable Development, housed in the Global Economy and Development program at Brookings. In that capacity, he studies policies and trends influencing developing countries, including aid to poor countries, the emergence of the middle class, and global governance and the G-20. He previously served as interim vice president and director of the Global Economy and Development program.
He has served as the lead author and executive secretary of the secretariat supporting the High Level Panel, co-chaired by President Sirleaf, President Yudhoyono and Prime Minister Cameron, advising the U.N. Secretary General on the post-2015 development agenda (2012-2013). The report, “A New Global Partnership: Eradicate Poverty and Transform Economies through Sustainable Development,” was presented on May 30, 2013.
His most recent co-authored/edited books are “The Rise of the Global Middle Class” (Brookings Press, 2023), “Breakthrough: The Promise of Frontier Technologies for Sustainable Development” (Brookings Press, 2022), “Leave No One Behind” (Brookings Press, 2019), “From Summits to Solutions: Innovations in Implementing the Sustainable Development Goals” (Brookings Press, 2018), “The Imperative of Development” (Brookings Press, 2017), “The Last Mile in Ending Extreme Poverty” (Brookings Press, 2015), “Getting to Scale: How to Bring Development Solutions to Millions of Poor People” (Brookings Press, 2013), “After the Spring: Economic Transitions in the Arab World” (Oxford University Press, 2012), and “Catalyzing Development: A New Vision for Aid” (Brookings Press, 2011). He has published articles, book chapters, and opinion pieces on global development policy, global trends, the global food crisis, international organizations, the G20, the DAC, and private philanthropy.
He has served as a member of the High Level Panel on the Reform of the Development Assistance Committee (2017); the International Panel Review Committee on Malaysia’s economic and governance transformation programs (2012); the post-Busan Advisory Group to the DAC co-chairs (2011); the National Economic Advisory Council to the Malaysian Prime Minister (2009-10); and a member of the Working Group for the Commission on Growth and Development, chaired by Professor A. Michael Spence (2007-10). He was a nonresident fellow of the OECD Development Center (2009). He has consulted for various organizations including the government of Sweden; World Bank Group; the United Nations; the International Fund for Agriculture Development; the OECD; the Japan International Cooperation Agency; the Global Fund Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; the Qatar National Research Fund; and the Centennial Group. He acts as an adviser to a number of organizations.
Prior to joining Brookings, Dr. Kharas spent 26 years at the World Bank, serving for seven years as Chief Economist for the World Bank’s East Asia and Pacific region and Director for Poverty Reduction and Economic Management, Finance and Private Sector Development, responsible for the Bank’s advice on structural and economic policies, fiscal issues, debt, trade, governance, and financial markets.
Media and Appearances
The idea that philanthropy, that any single individual, has enough money to affect something at a global scale is a very new phenomenon. [Most billionaires have] accumulated their wealth because the world economy is now globalized, but to sustain a globalized world economy we need to have more inclusive growth.
The IMF and the World Bank early on understood that the crisis and the economic recession … would be very broad and very deep . . . [Their push on the G20 to suspend debt payments for dozens of low-income countries] was the first major step in ensuring that the pandemic didn’t trigger a debt crisis that could have longer term consequences.
“We really need much more of a systemic transformation in economies. So now you see country after country coming out with recovery plans like the European Green Deal that emphasize environmental sustainability and social inclusion. There’s a tremendous mindset change.”
The tragedy is that because Africa is not growing fast, this collapse of the middle class could take several years to recover.
Whatever the approach, poor countries will need help from developed ones. Rich countries have spent a stunning $8trn on supporting their own citizens during the pandemic.
Homi Kharas delivered a keynote address on development finance at Duke University’s Multidisciplinary Conference on International Development on November 15, 2018. Watch the video of Dr. Kharas’ remarks.
We are in danger right now of people giving up on the SDGs, and that is something real, and it needs to be fought against.
Homi Kharas delivered the keynote address at IFPRI’s annual staff retreat on September 12, 2018. He explored the evolving development agenda and its implications for policy research.
Areas of Expertise
- Development economics
- International Trade
- Public Finance and Public debt
- Regional cooperation
- Subnational development
- Poverty alleviation
- Finance for development
- East Asia
- Sustainable development goals
- Member, International Finance Corporation Economic Advisory Board
- Member, International Advisory Board of Network of Southern Think Tanks
- Chief Economist, World Data Lab
- Member, Development Gateway Board
- Member, Oxfam USA Board
- Member, MCC External Advisory Council
- Interim Vice President and Director, Global Economy and Development Program, Brookings Institution
- Member, High Level Panel on the Future of the OECD Development Assistance Committee
- Chief Economist and Director of Economic Policy, East Asia and Pacific Region, World Bank (and other staff positions) (1980-2007)
- Member, G-24 membership review panel (2015-2016)
- Lead Author and Executive Secretary, U.N. High Level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda (2012-2013)
- Member, International Panel Review Committee on Malaysia’s economic and governance transformation programs (2012)
- Member, Post-Busan Advisory Group to the Development Assistance Committee co-chairs (2011)
- Member, National Economic Advisory Council to the Malaysian Prime Minister (2009-10)
- Member, Working Group for the Commission on Growth and Development (2007-10)
- Nonresident Fellow, OECD Development Center (2009)
- Senior Partner, Jeff Sachs and Associates (1989-1990)
- Ph.D. Harvard University (1980)
- M.A. (1978), B.A. (1975), Cambridge University