S. Shahid Husain Dies at 83
By  Bart Barnes

S. Shahid Husain, an economist and senior vice president of the World Bank who played a key role in economic assistance to countries in Latin America, Africa and East Asia, died May 11 at his home in Bethesda. He was 83.

The cause was Parkinson’s disease, the World Bank announced.

In a 33-year career at the international financial institution, Mr Husain was vice president for Eastern Africa, vice president for East Asia, vice president for operations policy, vice president for Latin America and the Caribbean Region. He spent three years as vice president for management and personnel services before retiring in 1996.

According to the bank, Mr Husain worked with and advised most of the presidents, prime ministers and finance ministers in Africa, East Asia and Latin America and helped open up the institution’s relations with China. He was a critical negotiator in shaping economic reforms that affected Argentina, Peru, Mexico and other Latin American countries amid a debt crisis in the late 1980s. There, he introduced several innovations in economic analyses, which later would catch the attention of World Bank President Robert S. McNamara, who in 1974 made him vice president for Eastern Africa. At 42 Mr. Husain was the youngest person to have been appointed a vice president of the institution, the World Bank said.

Syed Shahid Husain was born on April 4, 1932, in Patna, India, and grew up in Hyderabad. He moved to Karachi, Pakistan, following the British partitioning of India into two sovereign countries in 1947. He graduated in 1952 from the University of Karachi and received a master’s degree from the London School of Economics in 1956.

He joined the Pakistani civil service in 1956 and, in 1963, received a master’s degree in economics from Williams College in Massachusetts. He then joined the World Bank, where his initial assignment was Brazil. 

After retiring, Mr Husain was an adviser to the Islamic Development Bank. In 2002 he was in Pakistan for a year working on tax reform.

Survivors include his wife since 1961, Nigar Abbasi Husain of Bethesda; three children, Ayesha Husain of Bethesda, Aliya Husain of Washington and Ameen Husain of Kensington, Md.; and two grandchildren.


Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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