BIOGRAPHY OF FAKHRUDDIN AHMED
Former Governor Of The Bangladesh Bank
(1 May 1940 – Present)
Fakhruddin Ahmed, an economist, civilian, government service holder and the former governor of the Bangladesh Bank, was the Chief Adviser (CA) of the non-party interim Caretaker government, during the period of 2006 to 2008 when Bangladesh was indulged into a bad political crisis. Despite having the title of “Chief Adviser” to the government, he is actually commonly known as the former Prime Minister of Bangladesh. He served the state from 12 January 2007 to 6 January 2009
Fakhruddin was born in Munshiganj, on 1 May 1940, as a physician’s son. He is a very scholarly person having a degree of BA (Hons.) in Economics from Dhaka University and two MA degrees in Economics, one from Dhaka University and one from the USA. He has also completed a PHD in Economics from the USA. He achieved the first class first position both the times while he was in Dhaka University. As a knowledgeable person of Economics, he had therefore started his career as a Lecturer of Economics in Dhaka University. Throughout his entire career, he was involved with banking related works. He has served for the World Bank, and Bangladesh Bank almost for 35 years of his lifetime.
He has made huge positive changes and development in Bangladesh’s economic sector. That is why he is known to be the 2nd most popular Bangladeshi Economist according to a 2019 survey.
As the CA of the government, he has been credited for bringing stability in the political sector of Bangladesh. His biggest achievement is that during his tenure, the country had seen the fairest election. He has contributed to many other changes in different sectors of the country especially by initiating an anti-corruption campaign which led Bangladesh to be a less corrupted nation, at least during his time period. His tenure came to an end after the current Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina, took over the office.
Life of “Fakhruddin Ahmed” at a glance
Real Name: Fakhruddin Ahmed
Date of Birth: 1 May 1940
Father Name: Mohiuddin Ahmed
Chief Adviser (CA) to (the non-party) Caretaker Government (i.e. the Prime Minister) from 12 January 2007 to 6 January 2009
Lecturer, department of Economics, Dhaka University in 1961
Civil Service of then Pakistan in 1963
Joint Secretary, External Resources Division, Ministry of Finance in 1975
Country officer for South Asia, World Bank in 1978, for 20+ years
Governor, Bangladesh Bank from November 2001 to April 30, 2005.
Managing Director, Palli Karma Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) from June 2005 till 11 January 2007
Researcher and writer
Place of Birth: Nagarkandi, Munshiganj district
Matriculation Examination from Mathbaria High School, Pirojpur district in 1955
IA examination in 1957
BA (Hons) in Economics, Dhaka University in 1960
MA in Economics, Dhaka University in 1961
MA in Development Economics, Williams College, Massachusetts, USA in 1971
PhD in Economics, Princeton University, USA in 1975
Native Language: Bangla
Married to: Trana Halim
Children: One son
Achievement: 2nd most popular Bangladeshi Economist
On 1 May 1940, Fakhruddin was born in a village named Nagarkandi in the Munshiganj district. At that time, as Bangladesh was still not formed, Munshiganj district was known as Bengal Presidency of the then British India. Currently he is 83 years old. Fakhruddin was born in a Muslim family. Mohiuddin Ahmed, Fakhruddin’s father, was a physician.
Fakhruddin Ahmed is a highly scholarly person. The number of academic degrees and achievements proves that he was passionate about studying, gaining knowledge and therefore he has always been a brilliant student. In 1955, from Mathbaria High School in Pirojpur district, he passed the Matriculation examination. Then, in 1957, he completed his IA examination. From Dhaka University, in 1960, he obtained his BA (Hons) degree in Economics. He stood first in his batch by achieving first class first. Once again, in 1961, from Dhaka University, he had done his MA in Economics and achieved first class first. In 1970, he traveled to the USA to pursue higher education. There, in 1971, he obtained a second MA degree in Development Economics from the Williams College, Massachusetts. Finally, in 1975, he completed a PHD degree in Economics from Princeton University. Title of his doctoral dissertation was “Migration and employment in a multisector model; an application to Bangladesh”. Because he has vast knowledge and experience about economics, he has always used these in real life, in his entire career. He has brought different changes and thus made development in Bangladesh’s economics sectors.
In 1961, Fakhruddin began his professional life as a Lecturer at Dhaka University in the department of Economics. He then joined and served in the Civil Service of the then Pakistan in 1963. For more than 15 years he has worked in this sector. After Bangladesh’s independence, he served for the Government of Bangladesh as the Joint Secretary of the Economic Relations Division in the Ministry of Finance.
In November 1978, he joined the World Bank as the Country Officer for South Asia. In this institution, he had served for over 20 years. He was in the positions of: Principal Program Officer, Chief of Agriculture and Rural Development Operations in East Africa, Principal Economist, Operations Adviser, Country Director and Regional Manager. In the World Bank, his main objective was to concentrate on the macroeconomic and development policy issues that are in accordance with the countries of South Asia, East Asia and Africa. He retired with the designation of Country Director. During his career there, he stayed five years in the World Bank’s resident mission in Kenya for the position of Chief of the World Bank’s Rural Development Operations for Eastern Africa.
After he retired from the World Bank, from October 2001 to April 2005, he joined the Bangladesh Bank as the Governor. After completing his tenure there, from June 2005 to 11 January 2007, he worked as the Managing Director of (Dhaka-based) Palli Karma Sahayak Foundation (PKSF). Over 200 microfinance organizations are currently receiving financial and institution-building support from PKSF, the largest apex fund for microcredit in the world.
Finally, from 12 January 2007, Fakhruddin’s career shifted from being a civilian economist to the role of the CA to the interim government.
Formation of the caretaker government
The system of interim caretaker government, in Bangladesh, was formed in 2006. In 2007, on 12 January, after the then President Iajuddin Ahmed’s old interim administration was overthrown, he swore Fakhruddin in as “Chief Adviser” and appointed thirteen more advisers to form the Interim Caretaker Government. The swearing ceremony was held at the Bangabhaban. After the then President declared a state of emergency across the country, he himself resigned from the post of CA due to a growing political crisis and handed over the role to Fakhruddin.
According to Article no. 58, of the Bangladesh Constitution, the President elected Fakhruddin as the CA. The ten-minute oath ceremony was conducted by the Cabinet Secretary Ali Imam Majumder. In the event, many political leaders along with Awami League president Sheikh Hasina were present.
As the CA, Fakhruddin’s primary role was to start a new campaign to hold the upcoming parliamentary elections. His tenure came to an end on 6 January 2009 when the current Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina, of the Awami League party, took over the office.
Contributions and Achievements
On 29th December 2008, under his administrative government, parliamentary elections were held and these were largely recognized, both domestically and internationally as the freest and fairest of elections in Bangladesh’s history. The credit therefore goes to the head of the government, Mr. Fakhruddin for this. Moreover, the nation had been in danger of falling into anarchy, but Fakhruddin Ahmed is credited for putting an end to it.
Having the full support of Fakhruddin, the Election Commission (EC) along with the assistance of the Bangladesh Army, created an electronic voters’ list with photographs for over 80 million voters in all over Bangladesh. This feat or achievement was unheard of in the world before. This was done to ensure the integrity of the December 2008 election while also paving the way for future elections to be equally successful. Once again, as the leader of the government, Mr. Fakhruddin gets credit.
Under his leadership, many new policies and reforms were implemented by the Bangladeshi government with the intention of enhancing democracy. These include: a) separation of the judicial and executive branches, b) establishing an independent Anti- Corruption Commission to act as a societal barrier against corruption, c) giving a complete autonomy or freedom to the EC to manage and run the election affairs in Bangladesh, and lastly, d) improving and strengthening the local government. He had set up a national human rights commission, passed the Right to Information Act.
During the period of his government, in 2008, he introduced a railway service between Dhaka and Kolkata.
He was aware of doing campaigns for saving the environment too. On June 3, 2007, while delivering a speech at a tree-planting event, he fainted and ended up in the hospital. This was due to the severe heat condition leading him to have a heat stroke.
During his tenure as the state leader, he had given interviews in different international media like TIME, Al Jazeera etc. to talk about the current political situation of the country and he had answered them in an optimistic manner so that the reputation or image of Bangladesh do not hamper much in front of foreigners. He ensured that “there has not been any disruption of normal economic activities during the past 20 months”, and thus claimed that Bangladesh will be politically stable soon.
While he was the governor of the Bangladesh Bank, from October 2001 to April 2005, he had contributed to some economic development. He brought extensive changes to how monetary and exchange rate policy is implemented, in the development of new financial markets (bond market) and financial instruments(securitization), and how the financial system functions. Stronger corporate governance measures at the board level as well as internal rules, procedures, and structures within the banking sector and for non-banking financial organizations were part of the financial sector reforms. His other achievements during this period were: a) a fluctuating currency rate with little turbulence, b) adding flexibility to interest rates and thus significantly lowering interest rates. This in turn made a substantial contribution in increasing industrial investment, c) in the corporate sector in Bangladesh, for the first time, corporate governance measures were implemented, and finally d) making the Bangladesh Bank a reliable enforcer and regulator by strengthening the capacity of the Bangladesh Bank. During his tenure, because of all these stated reasons or accomplishments, the growth and stability of the macroeconomic and financial sectors were greatly influenced.
While serving for the World Bank, he was concerned with development-related macroeconomic challenges in addition to other sectoral and policy issues.
He had received few controversies too that some Bangladeshis thought he had undermined the anti-corruption drive by releasing (on bail) the 2 political leaders, Sheikh Hasina and Khaleda Zia so that they can participate in the election. Therefore, he went to an election with exactly the same people who were tainted by charges of corruption and whose governance had been discredited. Fakhruddin defended himself by saying they were released by the court and he had made the courts totally isolated from the executive branch.
After Fakhruddin took over the governance, as the Chief Advisor, he had brought some institutional reforms to ensure a good governance. His main objectives were to put an end to the notoriously corrupt political culture and to ensure fair election. He believed that in order to retain control over the money and muscle power involved with the election process, the emergency rule will help the country. According to him, the changed reforms were demanded by the civil society and the political parties. He tried to expand the anticorruption strategy to include preventive measures. For this reason, he built a campaign against corruption through the independent Anti Corruption Council. He aimed that eventually such a thorough strategy will ultimately result in corruption playing a very small role in our everyday lives. Since he began the anti corruption campaign, a great number of people have been convicted by the courts.
Fakhruddin is well respected by everyone mainly for his contributions in Bangladesh’s economics and its development. That is why he is known to be the 2nd most popular Bangladeshi Economist.
Apart from his main jobs, he also has a considerable number of research works. He can therefore be called a researcher too. His works have been published in few journals and periodicals. He has also published some books and thus he is a writer too. He can be identified as a multi talented person. He is a widely traveled man.
In his marital life, his wife’s name is Trana Halim and the couple together have a son only.
After reviewing his life story, it is inevitably safe to say that Fakhruddin is a successful Bangladeshi economist. Because of him, the country can see some positive changes in the economic sector, especially in the banking sector. He has made an immense number of contributions in the country’s economic development. Aside from being an economist, he is also a researcher and a writer. The young generation of Bangladesh can study his works and take inspiration in making further changes in different economic sectors of Bangladesh. As a CA, Fakhruddin has left a legacy to ensure good governance. His main objective, to put an end to the corrupted political culture, made Bangladeshi commoners realize that it is eventually possible to have a less corrupt country. His initiation of the anti-campaign program taught the future leaders and the young generation to believe in the Bangladeshi law and therefore to make changes in their life so that corruption plays as small a role as possible in everyday situations.
In spite of having little controversies, overall as a Prime Minister, Fakhruddin played good roles in the development of the country. Hence, he is respected by everyone.