Centre for Global Negotiations

Members of the Independent Commission on International Development Issues (ICIDI)

Biography: Khatijah Ahmad

Khatijah Ahmad has been called one of Malaysia's most influential woman. From 1965 to 1970, after graduating from the London School of Economics, she supervised 2000 people in her role as assistant economist for Bank Negara, the Central Bank of Malaysia.

In 1973, she resigned from the public sector to open her own financial services company, KAF Group. It is now Malaysia's largest bond and money-market trading house, with trading turnover of $17 billion annually.

Having started with three people (Khatijah, her secretary, and an assistant), and capital of $15,000, KAF now employs 500, including her husband and son. Profits in 2002 were $20 million from services ranging from asset management to debt restructuring and corporate advisory work. During the Southeast Asian financial crisis in 1997-98, Ahmad focused on debt restructuring, enabling her company to survive during the economic downturn.

Ahmad was Executive Chairman of her company while serving on the Brandt Commission from 1977 to 1980. Between 1981 and 1983, she was a member of the United Nations Development Programme, which is the UN's central agency for multisectoral technical assistance, providing expertise and material resources in many development areas to help member countries advance their economic and social conditions. The programs cover a wide range of activities, from "upstream" interventions on strategic policy issues to "downstream" activities which demonstrate and validate these policy concerns.

Since 1990, Khatijah Ahmad has been a part of MAPEN II, a high ranking consultative body that focuses on economic and financial aspects of the Malaysian Government.

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