Chakrabarti, Sumantra

Chakrabarti, Sumantra

Chair, Board of Trustees of the Overseas Development Institute, and former President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, London

Sir Suma Chakrabarti is Adviser to the Presidents of Kazakstan and Uzbekistan on economic development, effective governance and international cooperation.  He is also Deputy Chair of the Kazakhstan Supreme Council on Reforms, and of the Management Council of the Astana International Financial Centre.   

Sir Suma is also Chair of the Board of Trustees of ODI, Britain’s premier international development think tank, and works as a Global Commissioner of the New Climate Economy network, as a member of the Clean Growth Leadership Network, the Advisory Board of ECube Climate Finance, the WHO Commission examining post-COVID19 health systems in Europe, the Board of the Project for Modern Democracy think tank, the Commission for Smart Government, of the International Advisory Council of the Oxford India Centre for Sustainable Development, and of the WEF Eurasia Policy Group, and as an adviser to the Karta Initiative. 

Sir Suma also writes and speaks on various international development, climate change, and public service reform issues. 

Sir Suma was until July 2020 the sixth President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), a multilateral development bank (MDB) with global membership.  Sir Suma served two full four-year terms, having won competitive elections in 2012 and in 2016. 

During his tenure at the EBRD, Sir Suma led the expansion of the institution’s geographical focus to the Middle East and placed greater stress on the less advanced countries of operation.  While continuing with its private sector-focused mandate, Sir Suma led the EBRD’s advocacy for market-friendly policy reform, better governance and improved investment climates, engaging personally with the political leaders of the EBRD’s countries of operation and the CEOs of private and public sector clients. 

Before becoming President of the EBRD, Sir Suma had a very successful career in the UK civil service and was Permanent Secretary (most senior civil servant) successively at the Department for International Development (2002-2007) and the Ministry of Justice (2007-2012).   

Sir Suma’s earlier career was in international development, starting as an ODI Fellow in Botswana in the early 1980s, and encompassing a range of economic and administrative posts in the Overseas Development Administration (DFID’s predecessor) in London and in the UK office at the World Bank and IMF. 

After studying Politics, Philosophy and Economics at the University of Oxford, Sir Suma took a Masters in Development Economics at the University of Sussex. He is a honorary Fellow of New College, Oxford University, a honorary bencher at the Middle Temple, and also holds honorary doctorates from the Universities of Sussex, East Anglia, and the Bucharest University of Economic Sciences, as well as prestigious honours from Kosovo, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. 

Sir Suma was knighted in 2006 for his work in international development.

Sir Suma was born in 1959 in West Bengal, India, and moved to the UK when he was five. He is married with one daughter.


Tuesday 15 June

  • Global Perspectives on Fighting COVID-19

    What is the current rate of vaccination in Europe? What are the lessons learnt of applied restrictive measures? Could ‘mini Schengen in times of pandemic be efficient and help to fight the virus without endangering the transborder life/trade?

    • Bildt, Carl
    • Chakrabarti, Sumantra
    • Čadež, Marko
    • Wheaton, Sarah

    While the global distribution of vaccines is essential, how can we make sure that the shortage of the vaccines and the race to procure them is not abused for geopolitical purposes? How to make sure the populations around the world are not held hostage to vaccine “holders” and have equitable assess to this global good?

    Maria Theresia

    Grand Hotel River Park
    Live broadcast