Ibrahim, who is a Partner with the firm’s Public Sector practice in the Middle East, comes at his work from an unusual background. “My education was in aerospace engineering, which is not obviously related to the intersection of public policy and finance,” he says. “But one capability that I bring to the table is a background in data and analytics: A big part of my education is that it’s very quantitative, very data-driven.”
Along with an insatiable appetite for data, Ibrahim has always been fascinated by macroeconomics, though it was not the central focus of his education. “Being at the center of government decision-making and seeing how those major decisions get made has been absolutely fascinating,” he says.
I think that 2020 has fast-tracked the need of countries to put best practices in place and use the tools and analysis that we've helped them develop to be able to run their nations even under the most extreme conditions and situations.
Ibrahim takes pride in the work that he and his team has done over the past several years working with governments in the Middle East building fiscal responsibility and capabilities from scratch in the geographies and the markets that he serves. “We were doing a very good job with our public sector clients, progressing quickly from more basic capabilities to beginning to become a modern and developed data-driven government,” he says.
But then came COVID-19. “The economies went into recession, oil prices collapsed, and all our planning essentially had to be thrown out the window,” Ibrahim says. “Though had our clients not accomplished as much as we did, the countries’ fiscal positions would have been in worse trouble.”
He’s looking for the health crisis to pass and recovery to accelerate. “Getting the fiscal house back in order and the government back to being able to spend on growth-focused items will be a challenge,” he says. But it’s one he looks forward to meeting head-on. “I think fiscal matters are going to be more relevant than ever.”