Shahrukh Wani is an Economist and Country Manager for Zambia at the International Growth Center at the University of Oxford. He works with researchers and government agencies in developing countries to support evidence-based economic policy. He is particularly interested in taxation (especially of land) and public-sector management with a cross-cutting focus on the role of cities in driving economic growth.
His work has included supporting evidence-based policy reforms in Afghanistan, Uganda, Pakistan, and Zambia — such as decentralisation, informal settlements, public transport, and property taxation.
Shahrukh is also a writer on public and economic policy in Pakistan with articles published in Dawn, Express Tribune, The News, and The Guardian. He has also been quoted by BBC, Al Jazeera, and Financial Times. Shahrukh grew up in Rawalpindi before moving to London to study at the London School of Economics. He has also worked with ActionAid, Innovations for Poverty Action, Grameen Foundation, and the United Nations.
He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Policy-focused research projects
- Zambia’s Constituency Development Fund Capacity Survey (with Katherine Casey and Andrés Felipe Rodríguez).
- Decentralization with Guardrails: Enhancing the Zambia Constituency Development Fund (with Katherine Casey, Andrés Felipe Rodríguez, and Jeremy Bowles).
- Mapping informal settlements in Lusaka (with Dennis Chiwele Patrick Lamson-Hall)
- What drives tax compliance? Reforming local taxes in Ndola (with Twivwe Siwale)
- Understanding agricultural productivity constraints in Zambia (with Miguel Fajardo Steinhäuser and Thandiwe Ng’ombe)
- “Zambia’s Constituency Development Fund: Policy Considerations” International Growth Centre. (with with Katherine Casey, Andres Felipe Rodriguez, and Camilla Sacchetto)
- “Informal settlements in Lusaka.” International Growth Centre. (with Dennis Chiwele, Patrick Lamson-Hall)
- “COVID-19 and taxes: Policies for the post-pandemic recovery.” International Growth Centre (with Anders Jensen, Nick Wilkinson, Moussa Saab, Oliver Harman, and Farria Naeem)
- “Designed to succeed: Building authorising environments for fast-growing cities.” International Growth Centre. (with Paul Collier, Edward Glaeser, Tony Venables, and Astrid Haas)
- “Informal transport reform in Kampala.” International Growth Centre. (with Priya Manwaring).
- “Urban property taxes in Pakistan’s Punjab.” International Growth Centre. (with Hina Shaikh and Oliver Harman).
- “Making policy decisions under uncertainty.” International Growth Centre. (with Paul Collier and Vicky Delbridge).
- “The role of public-private partnerships for urban service delivery.” International Growth Centre. (with Priya Manwaring).
- Interview by the Digital Future Society on global urbanisation, 2021
- Devolve more power to cities: they will need it more than ever, October 2020 (with Astrid Haas) LSE Public Policy
- What is stopping developing countries from taxing more?, Aug 2020. International Growth Centre.
- In defence of density, July 2020 (with Shlomo Angel, Patrick Lamson-Hall, Oliver Harman). International Growth Centre.
- Urbanisation in fragile societies: Thinking about Kabul, Feb 2020. (with Oliver Harman, Freshta Karim, Shoaib Rahim) Urbanet.
- Navigating the urban age. with Oliver Harman. 2019. Oxford Government Review.
- Getting the right institutions in place to run Africa’s cities efficiently, with Astrid Hass. 2019. The Conversation.
- The Potential of Advanced Market Commitments. LSE International Development.
Panels, Lectures and Presentations
- Economic Growth Forum. 24th November 2022. Co-organiser and Moderator. Government of Zambia and International Growth Centre. Lusaka, Zambia.
- Decentralisation in Zambia. 4th February 2022. Organiser and Speaker. International Growth Centre. Lusaka, Zambia.
- Pakistan and Sri Lanka economic crises. 18th May 2022. Speaker. Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI).
- The Future of Urban Development in Afghanistan. December 10, 2021. Moderator. Oxford Urbanists.
- Kabul: Identity, legitimacy and governance. 2019. Moderator. University of Oxford.
- Financing Punjab’s cities: Land and property taxes, Government of Punjab and the International Growth Center. 1st September 2019. Co-organiser, Speaker and Moderator.
- 6th Urbanization and Poverty Reduction Conference. World Bank, the International Growth Center, George Washington University, and the Inter-American Development Bank. 9th September 2019. Co-organiser.
- Taxing Land and Property for urban service delivery in Pakistan, Federal Board of Revenue, Pakistan. 3rd March 2020. Invited Presentation.
- Why tax land and property?, Institute of Business Administration (IBA). Karachi. 5th Oct 2020. Guest Lecture.
- Building authorising environments for fast-growing cities, Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office’s Infrastructure and Urban cadre CPD week. 1st Dec 2020. Co-presenter.
- Urban Governance and Collaboration, UK Built Environment Advisory Group (UKBEAG) and the UN-Habitat for Prosperity Fund’s Global Future Cities Programme. 4th Feb 2021. Presenter.
- The Law for Building Sustainable Cities, Advocates for International Development (A4ID). 22nd May 2021. Presenter.
- City-to-City Knowledge Exchange, UK Built Environment Advisory Group (UKBEAG) and the UN-Habitat for Prosperity Fund’s Global Future Cities Programme. Subject Matter Expert on Governance and Finance. 2nd Sep 2021.
- Lusaka’s informal settlements policy roundtable, International Growth Centre (IGC) and the UN-Habitat. Chair. 8th Sep 2021.
- Stimulating the Urban Economy in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the International Growth Centre and Adam Smith International. Moderator. 22nd Sep 2021.
Opinion writing on Pakistan:
- The case against technocrats. December 19th, 2022. Dawn.
- Pakistan is on the brink again. December 12, 2022. The News.
- How to break the IMF cycle. August 31, 2022. The News.
- What does this budget mean? June 11, 2022. The News
- Reform or perish. June 09, 2022. The News.
- Action, curtains, repeat. April 2022. The News.
- Landlords Inc. November, 2020. Dawn.
- Why Pakistan’s new plan to fix the bureaucracy won’t work, Sep 2020. Dawn. (with Sameen Mohsin).
- Sugar and the making of a rentier economy, May 2020. Express Tribune. (with Adeel Malik).
- Pakistan’s urban transition, Nov 2019. Dawn.
- So, what comes after the IMF?, Sep, 2019. Dawn.
- Has Punjab just taken a step towards unlocking the potential of its cities?, Aug 2019. Dawn.
- How do you pay for a programme like PTI’s Ehsas?, July 2019. Dawn.
- Are insecure property rights holding back Pakistan’s economy?, Aug 2019. Dawn.
- Why Pakistan will go to the IMF again, and again and again, Oct 2018. Dawn.
- Imran Khan envisions a Pakistani welfare state. Is it possible?, Aug 2018. Dawn.
- Reforming Pakistan’s tax system: Evidence-based suggestions, Dec 2018. IGC
- For too long, Pakistani schools have been a means to provide jobs, rather than education, June 2017. The Guardian.
Selected media links on Pakistan:
- After record floods, now Pakistan has to worry about economy. Al Jazeera. Quote. 7th Sep 2022.
- Are catastrophic floods Pakistan’s new normal? Al Jazeera. Quote. 1st Sep 2022.
- Pakistan on the brink. Financial Times. Quote. 4th May 2022.
- Pakistan and IMF to meet over release of funds as economy falters. Agence France-Presse. Quote. 18th May 2022.
- On Pakistan’s 2022 economic crises. Television interview. Dawn News. 12th May 2022.
- On the end of Imran Khan’s administration. Quote. Aljazeera English. 10 Apr 2022.
- On Pakistan’s COVID19 response, Television Interview. Dawn News. June, 27 2020.
- On Pakistan’s social spending push, Newspaper Interview. Arab News. Jan, 26 2020.
- On Imran Khan’s first year in office, Interview. BBC Urdu. Aug, 16 2019.
- On décentralisation in Pakistan, Television Interview. Dawn News. May 10, 2019
- On the IMF program in Pakistan, Television Interview. Dawn News.May 13 2019.
- On Pakistan’s annual budget. Newspaper Interview. Dawn. Sep, 9 2018.
- On urban governance in Pakistan. Television Interview. Indus News. May, 16 2019.
- On Pakistan’s budget and the need for economic reforms. The Pakistan Experience. Video Podcast. June 13th 2022.
- Rupee’s Decline and Risks of Default in Pakistan. Pakistonomy. Video Podcast. Aug 4th 2022.
- On taxation in Karachi. Pakistonomy. Video Podcast. Oct 29 2020
- On urbanisation in Pakistan. Pakistan@100 by World Bank and LUMS.
- Interview by the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics on property taxation, 2019.