Dr. Akbar Ali Khan was born in 1944 at Nabinagar in Brahamanbaria district. He studied History in Dhaka University and secured first place in first class in both B.A. (Hons.) and M.A. Examinations. He studied Economics in Queen’s University Canada and obtained M.A. and PhD. in Economics.
He joined the Civil Service of Pakistan (CSP) in 1967 and was posted as SDO Habiganj in 1971. He actively participated in the liberation war and was sentenced to fourteen years rigorous imprisonment in absentia by a military court of the occupation forces. He joined the provisional Government of the Peoples Republic of Bangladesh as Deputy Secretary, Ministry of Defense.
On lien from the Government service, he served as assistant and associate Professor of Jahangirnagar University. He taught Development Economics and Development Administration for three years in Bangladesh Public Administration Training Center as Member Directing Staff. He has taught postgraduate courses in Governance and Development Studies Departments in BRAC University after his retirement. He served as an Adjunct Professor in several privare universities. He is now associated with Business School of BRAC University as a Professor specializing in corporate governance and business environment.
He served with distinction in various Ministries including Cabinet, Finance Education, Irrigation and Environment Divisions. He worked in the Ministry of Finance for more than sixteen years at levels of Joint Secretary and above. He was Chairman NBR and Secretary Internal Resource Division for nearly three years. He served as Finance Secretary for more than five and half years covering three consecutive governments. He was appointed Cabinet Secretary in 2001 and retired from that position in 2002. He was Advisor in charge of the Ministries of Finance, Planning, Commerce, Post, Telegraph and Telephones in the Caretaker Government in 2006 and resigned in protest against the failure of the Chief Advisor in ensuring a free, fair and impartial election. He also served as the first Chairman of Regulatory Reforms Commission during 2007-2009.
He has significant experience in poverty alleviation programs in Bangladesh. He was the Executive Director of World Bank assisted RD-1 Project. He was the Chairman of Board of Directors of Gramenn Bank for more than three years. As Finance Secretary, he played a prominent role in establishing Grihayana Tahbil (Fund for Housing of the Poor) and Karmasangsthana (Employment Generation) Bank. He was the Chairman of Social Development Foundation for two years.
Dr. Khan served as Economic Minister in Bangladesh Embassy at Washington D.C. for four years from 1987-1991. He was the Alternative Executive Director of World Bank for more than three years, as the representative of the governments of Bangladesh, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and India. He represented Bangladesh in various international conferences. He was elected chairman of the 42-nation FAO sub-committee on Surplus Disposal (Food Aid) for the year 1989. He was elected Vice Chairman of Officials Committee of UNCTAD Trade Summit in Columbus, Ohio in 1995.
He has published eleven books and a. number of articles on economics, public administration and water resources in various national and international journals. His first book Some Aspects of Peasant Behavior in Bengal was praised by The Journal of Economic History (USA) as “a significant contribution to the growing body of new economic history in South Asia.” His book Discovery of Bangladesh was rated by the Asiatic Society of Bangladesh as the best publication in humanities for the period 1996-98 and was awarded Justice Md. Ibrahim gold medal. His book Parathaparatar Arthaniti was highly commended for wit and originality by Desh the most widely circulated literary magazine of Calcutta. His book People’s Participation in Budgetary Process in Bangladesh: In Search of Policy Reforms was published in 2008 by Shamunnay – a national advocacy NGO. His latest publications include Friendly Fires, Humpty Dumpty Disorder and other Essays (2010) and Andhakarer Utsa Hote (2011 and Ajab and Jabor Ajab Authentic (2013).
He is a member of American Economic Association and a life member of Asiatic Society of Bangladesh. He was awarded Maulana Akram Khan gold medal for distinguished public service and Mercantile Bank gold medal for research in economics. He was elected fellow of Bangla Academy in 2010 in recognition of his contribution to economics and history of Bangladesh. He is a life-member of Asiatic Society of Bangladesh.