Policy Research Institute - PRI Bangladesh

The Policy Research Institute of Bangladesh (PRI) is a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization dedicated to promoting a greater understanding of the Bangladesh economy, its key policy challenges, domestically, and in a rapidly integrating global marketplace.

Dr. Osman H Chowdhury

Short BIO of Dr. Osman Haider Chowdhury

Academic Qualifications / Areas of Specialization

  • Phd in Economics, {Thesis-Computable General Equilibrium Model for value added tax (VAT) in Bangladesh} - University of Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City, Manila, Philippines, 1990.
  • Master of Arts (MA) in Population Economics (Demography) - University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA, 1976.
  • Bachelor of Arts (Hons) and MA in Economics - Dhaka University, Dhaka, Bangladesh, 1974.

Areas of Specialization:

  1. Development theory & practice.Corporate Governnance. Public Policy. International Finance, Business cycle theory and practice, Macroeconomic & Fiscal Management, Economics of Macro-Economic crisis. Finance & Financial Management. Capital market practice.
  2. Comparative Economic Growth & Development- USA, Chine, India, East Asian - Pacific Economies & the European Economies.
  3. Water and River Basin Management, Conflict in Tran boundary River Basins. Environmental sustainability and Institutions for Delta / River basin management.


Osman has over 35 years of experience in research, policy development and analysis, consulting and teaching, and project and programme evaluation/management. As a researcher and consultant, he has considerable experience working with international and development organizations including mainly in the Asian Development Bank (ADB), World Bank, United Nations Development Project (UNDP), Canadian International Development Agency

(CIDA), Harvard Institute of International Development (HIID), United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and NORAD. Osman has participated in numerous national and international conferences, where he presented his papers/publications. Osman was the Governor of the BARD (Bangladesh Academy of Rural Development), the largest in Asia & Pacific region during 2000- 2004 and crucial and notable programmes were suggested by him like women cooperative programme and housing programme which were later undertaken by the Government.

Osman has extensively worked in the areas of comparative economic growth of East Asian Economies, India, China, USA and their contribution in the Global Economy. He also worked in the areas of technology and productivity of the transformation of these Economies. Besides, he advised his Government on Investment policy and helped in creating proper Institutions for Industrial development. He lately developed an interest in the areas of Water resources, River basins and their governance and Institutions around the world.

He had a long career at the Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS) where he commenced work right after obtaining his MA from Dhaka University in 1974. In 1997, he joined the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) – an independent think tank - as the Executive Director. IPS was mainly supported by ADB and donor projects. Osman also devoted his time in teaching (2004-2012), while still continuing his research interests. He was in in two major Universities in Bangladesh as Professor of Economics and International Finance, including North South University – the first private university in Bangladesh with several affiliations with US universities. He also worked in the Independent University and the University of Asia Pacific in Dhaka for few years. But his research involvement has been more significant and pleaded with the higher authorities for devoting more fund for Independent Research.

Currently, Osman is a Senior Fellow at PRI where he joined in 2008 as a Senior Fellow. He is also Advisor to Bangladesh Unnoyon Parishod, one of the oldest and most cited think tanks on Social development and Environmental sustainability since 2005. At the same time Osman is also the Senior Advisor and a resource person to a Singaporean Consulting entity, called CSR Solutions.

His most recent reports (2016) are, mainly in the areas of PRI autonomous work on the International Deltas.

  • Organizations and Institutions in managing the International Deltas / River Basins: The latest experiences. (Submitted). In May, 2016.
  • Works first draft ready:
  • Main Challenges of water scarcity and global water resource management. Experiences of global Deltas and River Basins. (Prel. Draft ready).
  • International River Basin Management problems and the challenges. (Prel. Draft ready).
  • Sedimentation management problems in the Deltas and RiverBasins. (Prel. Draft ready).
  • Erosion,flood incidence and land reclamation around the Deltas / River Basins. (Prel. Draft ready).

Current work: A Technical paper under preparation on Design of a sustainable Financial system: Policy strategy for a Green Economy. With Asif and Farhana.

Prior work history

After obtaining MA from the University of Pennsylvania, USA with a Ford Foundation Fellowship, Osman delivered few lectures in Arcadia University, Glenside, PA and in Chestnut College, Chestnut Hill, PA which were arranged by the President of the University of Pennsylvania asa Graduate reward programme for few selected Graduates. Afterwords he came back to his country to help rebuild the nation. Through the courtesy of BIDS, Osman was engaged as a key resource person in citable projects in the areas of population control, reducing mortality rate, (with Population Council, Newyork). The achievement of Bangladesh in its graduation in the path of development is a manifestation of correct policy prescription over the years beginning in early 1980s. Eventually Osman Chowdhury was awarded a Winrock Fellowship Programme for PhD and went to the University of Philippines, Diliman. After that, he worked with Dr. Aminul Islam, Director General in the Economic Development and Resource Centre (EDRC) of the ADB for sometime as a Staff Consultant. Since his degree was in General Equilibrium modeling for taxation, Osman’s skills were applied in the study of enhancing trade and investment expansion in the Asia Pacific region.

Returning to Bangladesh, Osman joined back in BIDS, where he continued his research works. Osman was hired by UNDP in 1992 as a Consultant for the formulation of UNDP country programming. Shortly after that, CIDA local office in Bangladesh engaged him as a Senior Resource person for setting right the cooperative, community and rural development programmes. Immediately afterwards, Osman was engaged in a larger project of disinvestment management and programming of the Government projects which were taken by the state after liberation of Bangladesh. He devoted more time in the steel and engineering projects, and advised the Government how to divest them. His works were highly appreciated.

During this period, he continued BIDS internal duties, including conducting the advanced training programmes. He also delivered lectures in Public Academic training programme to the public officials. Osman continued his publications and edited a journal for ICRISAT, Ankara, Turkey. He continued attending seminars abroad to present keynote papers, mainly in India, Colombo, Bangkok, Manila, USA, Turkey, IDB and OIC and national centres.

One key area where he was involved by the Bangladesh Development partners and the Government as a key Senior Advisor was to develop the investment policy of the Government.

He took up projects with the ADB as a Staff Consultant on several occasions in the ADB headquarters in Manila, mainly in a) Macroeconomic impacts of Middle-East crisis; b) OCR lending and sustainability for Bangladesh; c) Problems of Capital Market growth and stability in Bangladesh; d) Management and growth of foreign investment in Bangladesh; e) Management and sustainability of Foreign Exchange of Bangladesh.

In the meantime Osman was a senior consultant with the Harvard Institute for International Development (HIID), Harvard University with its Director Prof. Glenn Jenkins, in an ADB financed project on the Appraisal of Shadow Prices for Project appraisal of ADB projects in Asia- Pacific region.

Osman prepared the background paper for the Bangladesh Aid group meeting as a senior resource person. He was a senior consultant in the Rural Finance Experiment project of Bangladesh Bank and USAID. Osman was a Senior Consultant of the study project on Targeted Credit Programmers and the Rural Poverty in Bangladesh, a World Bank-BIDS study in Washington D.C.