Prof Nagesh Kumar is Director and Chief Executive of the Institute for Studies in Industrial Development (ISID), a public-funded policy think-tank based in New Delhi. Between May 2009-April 2021, he served as Director at United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) where he has held a number of senior management roles. These include Chief Economist of UNESCAP, Director of the Macroeconomic Policy and Development Division (MPDD) and Director of the Social Development Division (SDD), at the UNESCAP headquarters in Bangkok and Head of the South and South-West Asia (SSWA) Office of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) based in New Delhi, that he had the privilege to establish.
During 2002-09, Dr Kumar served as Director-General of Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS), a New Delhi-based policy think-tank of the Government of India devoted to international economic and development issues. During 1993-1998, Dr Kumar served on the faculty of the United Nations University-Institute for New Technologies (UNU/INTECH, now UNU-MERIT) in Maastricht, the Netherlands and directed its research programme on Globalization, FDI and technology transfers. He has also served as a consultant to the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, UNDP, UNCTAD, UNIDO, UN-DESA, ILO, the Commonwealth Secretariat, and the Commission on Intellectual Property Rights, among others.
Dr Kumar has served on the board of directors of the Export-Import Bank of India, and on the Governing Boards of the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD), Geneva; the South Asia Centre for Policy Studies (SACEPS), Kathmandu; and the Institute for Studies in Industrial Development, New Delhi, besides a number of committees, task forces and expert groups set up by the Government of India. Dr Kumar was nominated by the Indian Government on the Track-II Study Group on Comprehensive Economic Partnership of East Asian Countries (CEPEA), and the Expert Group on Economic Research Institute on ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) set up in 2007 by the leaders of the East Asia Summit. He chaired the regional study group established by the SAARC Secretariat that prepared a blueprint for liberalization of trade in services in South Asia leading to signing of the South Asian Agreement on Trade in Services (SATIS) in 2010; and an ERIA study group on infrastructure development in East Asia in 2008.
A PhD in Economics from the Delhi School of Economics, Dr Kumar is recipient of the Exim Bank of India's first International Trade Research Award in 1989 and a GDN Medal for best research awarded by the World Bank and the Japanese Government in 2000. He delivered the Presidential Address at the 103rd Annual Conference of Indian Economic Association held in Jaipur on 4-6 January 2022.
Dr Kumar has written extensively on the development cooperation, developmental impact of FDI, industrial and technology development policies, the challenge of new technologies for development, on regional economic co-operation in Asia, and on WTO and development, among other themes, resulting into 18 books and over 120 research papers in international and national peer reviewed journals, among other publications, attracting over 7400 academic citations at Google Scholar.
Co-founder of the South Asia Economic Journal (published by Sage) and its co-editor during 2000-2009, Dr Kumar has written popular columns in Business Standard, Financial Express, the Economic Times, leading financial dailies published from New Delhi.