I‘m presently an Economist at the International Growth Centre (IGC)’s Cities that Work Initiative based at the Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford. I work to translate research into urban policy guidance for policymakers in Africa and South Asia, with a focus on finance and urban governance. As part of my role, I work closely with policymakers, especially Mayors, and researchers to support actionable research and policy reform.
Before my current role, I worked on IGC’s partnership with UN-Habitat to implement the strategic phase of British Foreign Office’s £80 million Global Future Cities Programme. Prior to IGC, I worked with ActionAid UK on taxation in Pakistan, and on poverty measurement at the Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) and the Grameen Foundation.
I’m also a frequent(-ish) writer on public policy, particularly on my native Pakistan, mainly for Dawn. I also occasionally talk to the press about policy issues in Pakistan, with quotes published in BBC World Service, Dawn, Arab News, The Express Tribune, and Gulf Times, along with several television appearances. I tweet @ShahrukhWani and can be emailed at s[dot]rukh[at]lse.ac.uk. I’m a citizen of Pakistan, and presently based in London.
Lectures, Panels and Conferences:
- “Institutional fragmentation in urban governance.” Presentation. Blavatnik School of Government and the Said Business School Joint Early Career Research Showcase. 3rdJuly 2019.
- “Kabul: identity and legitimacy in a fragile context.” Panel chair and organizer. University of Oxford’s Challenges of Government Conference 2019. 31st October 2019 (video here).
- “Financing Punjab’s cities: Land and property taxes workshop.” Speaker and workshop moderator. International Growth Center and Government of Punjab. 1st September 2019. (more)
- “Governing fast-growing cities.” Presentation. Peking University. December 2019.
- “Taxing Land and Property for urban service delivery in Pakistan.” Speaker. Federal Board of Revenue. Lahore, Pakistan. 3rd March 2020. (presentation here).
- “Designed to succeed: Building authorising environments for fast-growing cities” with Sir Paul Collier (Oxford), Edward Glaeser (Harvard), Tony Venables (Oxford), and Astrid Haas (IGC). International Growth Center.
- “Public-private partnerships in urban settings.” with with Sir Paul Collier (Oxford), Edward Glaeser (Harvard), Tony Venables (Oxford), and Priya Manwaring (IGC). International Growth Center.
- “Urban Property Taxes in Pakistan’s Punjab.” with Hina Shaikh (IGC) and Oliver Harman (IGC). International Growth Center.
Writing on Pakistan:
- Sugar and the making of a rentier economy, The Express Tribune, May 8, 2020 (with Dr. Adeel Malik, Oxford)
- Pakistan’s urban transition, DAWN, November 23, 2019
- So, what comes after the IMF?, DAWN, June 10, 2019
- Why Pakistan will go to the IMF again, and again and again, DAWN, October 16, 2018
- Has Punjab just taken a step towards unlocking the potential of its cities?, DAWN, May 10, 2019
- How do you pay for a programme like PTI’s Ehsas?, DAWN, April 24, 2019
- Imran Khan envisions a Pakistani welfare state. Is it possible?, DAWN, August 28, 2018
- Are insecure property rights holding back Pakistan’s economy?, DAWN, Jan 17, 2019
- For too long, Pakistani schools have been a means to provide jobs, rather than education, The Guardian Tue 27 Jun 2017
- Reforming Pakistan’s tax system: Evidence-based suggestions, International Growth Centre, 3rd Dec 2018.
- The Case of Culture of Learning for Pakistan, Alif Ailaan, May 28th, 2018 (compensation was received from DAI Global for this article)
Anything but Pakistan:
- Navigating the Urban Age. Oxford Government Review 4. 6th November 2019.
- Urbanisation in Fragile Societies: Thinking about Kabul. Urbanet. December 4th 2019.
- Using Markets for Development? The Potential of Advanced Market Commitments, London School of Economics Blog. January 30th, 2018
- What Does the Rise of Populism Mean for International Development?, London School of Economics Blog. March 23rd, 2018
- Getting the right institutions in place to run Africa’s cities efficiently, The Conversation Africa.(with Astrid Haas, LSE) May 15, 2019
Note: I don’t represent the views of Oxford or IGC in my conversations with the press
- (Text, English) Comments for Dawn on changes to the federal budget by the Pakistani government in Sep 2018.
- (Text, Urdu) Interviewed by BBC’s Urdu service on Pakistan’s stock market stabilisation fund in June 2019.
- (Text, Urdu) Interviewed by BBC’s Urdu service on Imran Khan’s first year in office in August 2019.
- (Video, Urdu) On Dawn News’s primetime news program Newswise to talk about a new decentralisation law in Punjab. 10th of May, 2019 (video here)
- (Video, English) On Indus Special with Ejaz Haider to talk about urban governance in Pakistan. 16th May 2019. (video here)
- (Video, English) Interviewed by World Bank – LUMS’s collaboration Pakistan at 100 on cities in Pakistan. (video here)
- (Video, Urdu) On Dawn News’s current affairs talkshow, Zara Hut Kay, to talk about Pakistan’s agreement with the IMF. 13th of May, 2019. (video)
- (Text, English) Interviewed by Arab News of Pakistan’s social spending push. 26 January 2020.
- (English) I had a conversation with Professor Jean-Paul Faguet of the London School of Economics on institutional change. (Soundcloud)
- (English) I and, my friend, Jovan talked to Professor Naila Kabeer of the London School of Economics. (Soundcloud)
- (English) I was interviewed as part of LSE South Asia Centre’s podcast on Cities in South Asia. (Soundcloud).