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Masood Ahmed was born and raised in Pakistan. He obtained graduate and post-graduate degrees from the London School of Economics.
Masood Ahmed's World Bank career began in the World Bank's Young Professionals Program (YPP) in 1979. After 1980, Ahmed served in numerous roles at the World Bank, including: Economist in the Energy Department (EGYDR), 1980-1981; Economist in the Energy Assessment Division (EGYEA), 1981-1982; Senior Economist in the Energy Assessment Division (EGYEA), 1983; Deputy Division Chief in the Energy Assessment Division (EYGEA), 1983-1985; Deputy Division Chief in the Energy Strategy and Pre-Investment Division I (EGYS1), 1985-1986; Deputy Division Chief in the Industrial Development and Finance Companies Division of the Europe, Middle East, and North Africa Projects Department (EMPID), 1986-1987; Division Chief in the Industry and Energy Operations Division of the Europe, Middle East, and North Africa Country Department II (EM2IE), 1987-1991; Division Chief in the International Economic Department Debt and International Finance Division (IECDI), 1991-1993; Director of the International Economic Department (IECDR), 1993-1997; and Vice-President in the Poverty Reduction and Economic Management Network (PREM), 1997-2000.
Ahmed's early Bank career included helping to manage and develop the Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP), which provided technical assistance for energy development in low and middle income countries. From 1987 to 1991, Ahmed oversaw lending and advisory services for development projects in the Maghreb countries of Northwest Africa. From 1991 to 1993, as a Division Chief in the IEC, Ahmed took part in economic forecasting and policy development related to international capital flows and debt. As IEC Director from 1993 to 1997, Ahmed played a significant policy advisory role to develop the Joint International Monetary Fund and World Bank framework for the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative (HIPC). From 1997 to 2000, Ahmed participated extensively in the creation and implementation of the PREM Network, and continued to serve an important policy advisory role with the Bank's continued involvement with the HIPC Initiative. This includes his contribution in developing the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper approach, which provided heavily indebted countries a comprehensive and country-focused plan in alleviating long-term debt.
Masood Ahmed left the World Bank in January 2000.