A BIOGRAPHY OF Shah A M S Kibria
(Former Finance Minister)
(1931 – 2005)
A BIOGRAPHY OF SHAH A M S KIBRIA
Shah Abu Muhammad Shamsul Kibria, also known as SAMS Kibria or Shams Kibria, was a renowned Bangladeshi economist, diplomat, and politician. He worked for the Pakistani Foreign Service for many years but left during the Bangladesh Liberation War to support his home country.
After Bangladesh gained independence, Kibria worked for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and became the foreign secretary twice. He also worked for the United Nations as the Executive Secretary of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific.
Later on, Kibria became a member of the Bangladesh Awami League and served as the Minister of Finance. He was elected as a member of parliament in 2001. Unfortunately, Shah Abu Muhammad Shamsul Kibria was assassinated during a public meeting in Habiganj in 2005.
Known For: Finance Minister
Born: 1 May 1931
Birthplace: Habiganj, Sylhet.
Father: Shah Imtiaz Ali
✦ Moulvibazar Government High School
✦ Dhaka University
✦ Tufts University
✦ Foreign Secretary (Bangladesh)
✦ Executive Secretary of ESCAP (Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific)
✦ Finance Minister Of Bangladesh
Spouse: Asma Kibria
✦ Reza Kibria
✦ Nazli Kibria
Death: January 27, 2005
Dying Age: 73
Early Life & Education
Shah Abu Muhammad Shamsul Kibria was born on May 1st, 1931 in Habiganj, Sylhet District, Bangladesh. His father, Shah Imtiaz Ali, was a respected figure in the primary education sector in Sylhet.
Kibria attended Moulvibazar Govt. High School and then graduated from Dhaka University with a degree in economics in 1952. That same year, he was arrested by the East Pakistan police for his involvement in the Bengali language movement but was soon released.
Kibria then earned a master’s degree in economics in 1953 and excelled in the Central Superior Services Examination of the Pakistani government in 1954. He was selected for the Pakistan Foreign Service and trained at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, Boston, and the British Foreign Office in London.
Kibria worked in various Pakistani diplomatic missions in cities such as Calcutta, Cairo, New York, and Jakarta, and held positions in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Islamabad and the Pakistani Embassy in Washington D.C. During the Bangladesh Liberation War, Kibria served as a political counselor in the Pakistan Embassy in Washington D.C. On August 4, 1971, he and his Bengali colleagues resigned from the embassy and pledged allegiance to the interim Bangladesh government. Kibria then helped organize a Bangladesh mission in Washington D.C. and informed the international community about the progress of Bangladeshi forces in the war.
After the war, Kibria joined Bangladesh’s newly established Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Dhaka as the Director General of the Political Affairs department. He also served as Foreign Secretary in the Ministry of Administration, was appointed High Commissioner to Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji in 1973, and was later appointed the Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the European office of the UN in Geneva in 1976. In 1979, Kibria served as the elected Chairman of the Group of 77 Preparatory Committee for the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development V held in Manila. From May 1981 to March 1992, he was the Executive Secretary of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and also served as a special representative of the UN Secretary-General for Cambodian humanitarian relief in 1986.
Kibria became interested in politics after his UN assignments and joined Bangladesh Awami League in 1992 as a member of the advisory council. He started writing columns on economic and political issues in national dailies at the same time. In 1994, he was appointed Political Advisor to the Awami League President. After the general election on June 12, 1996, Kibria became the Minister of Finance in Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s cabinet. He held the position until the government’s term expired in July 2001.
In his political roles, Kibria was also elected as Chairman of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific in 1997, and as President of the Governing Council of the International Fund for Agricultural Development in 1998. He was later elected as a member of parliament from the Habiganj-3 constituency in the general election held on October 1, 2001.
During Kibria’s five-year term as Minister of Finance from 1996 to 2001, Bangladesh experienced economic growth and stability, except for a stock market failure in 1996. For the first time in the country’s history, the GDP grew at an average rate of 5.83% with a low inflation rate, reaching only 1.53% in June 2001. Exports increased significantly, from $3884m in 1995-96 to $6477m in 2000-2001. The social sector, such as education and health, received more investment, accounting for 24.7% of the total budget in 2000-2001, up from 21.02% in 1995-96. National savings and investment rates increased, while physical infrastructure, including electricity generating capacity and rice and wheat production, improved and modernized. Life expectancy and literacy rates increased, while infant mortality rates decreased.
Kibria, a family man, was married to Asma Kibria, who was born in 1937 and passed away in 2015. They had two children, a son named Reza Kibria and a daughter named Nazli Kibria. Reza Kibria is an economist and has followed in his father’s footsteps, dedicating his life to the economic development of Bangladesh. He has worked in various organizations, including the World Bank, and is currently a professor in the Economic Development and Institutions program at Boston University.
Nazli Kibria, on the other hand, pursued a career in academia and is currently a professor of Sociology at Boston University. Her work focuses on migration, globalization, and identity, and she has published numerous articles and books on these topics. Despite their busy lives, the Kibria family remained close and supported each other in their endeavors.
✪✪ Independence Day Award
✪✪ ICT Champion Award in 2010 (After he died)
In 2005, Kibria attended a political rally at Boidder Bazar primary school, Habiganj, where he delivered a speech. After finishing his speech and leaving the grounds through the school gate, two Arges grenades were thrown, exploding in quick succession. Sadly, Kibria’s nephew and two companions were killed on the spot, and Kibria himself sustained serious injuries. Despite being taken to two nearby hospitals, he could not receive proper medical attention due to a lack of personnel and medical supplies. Later, he was transported to BIRDEM hospital in Dhaka, but it was too late, and the doctors pronounced him dead upon arrival.
Sylhet Agricultural University has honored Kibria by naming one of its residence halls after him. The Kibria Hall was established in recognition of his contributions to the field of agriculture and his efforts to improve the lives of farmers and rural communities in Bangladesh. The hall serves as a home away from home for students of the university, providing them with comfortable accommodations and a supportive community environment. The naming of the hall after Kibria is a testament to his legacy and the impact he has had on the people of Bangladesh.