Roland Rajah

Lowy Institute Lead Economist; Director, Indo-Pacific Development Centre
Areas of expertise

International economic policy; Asia Pacific economies; macroeconomics; economic development; aid and development finance; globalisation; geo-economics.  

Roland Rajah
Biography
Publications
News and media

Roland Rajah is Director of the Indo-Pacific Development Centre, a dedicated policy research centre within the Lowy Institute. The Centre is committed to producing fresh policy insights and ideas on the most pressing economic development challenges facing the Indo-Pacific region — principally focusing on the emerging and developing economies of Southeast Asia, the Pacific Islands and South Asia. He also serves as the Lowy Institute’s Lead Economist, a position he has held since joining the Institute in 2017.

Roland directs the overall work program of the Indo-Pacific Development Centre across its key thematic pillars of post-Covid growth and development, globalisation and regional integration, climate change and development, technology and digital economy, aid and development finance, and geoeconomics. The Centre also houses the Lowy Institute Pacific Aid Map project, which provides the world’s most comprehensive data tracking of all official aid and other development finance flows to the Pacific Islands.

A development economist by background, Roland has extensive experience working across both emerging Asia and the small island developing states of the Pacific. He has previously worked for the Asian Development Bank, Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), and the Reserve Bank of Australia. Roland holds a master’s degree in economics from the Australian National University, where he was awarded the Helen Hughes Prize in International and Development Economics. He also serves on the board of the Cambodia Development Resource Institute, one of Southeast Asia’s leading independent policy research think tanks.

The crucial role for the Green Climate Fund – and why Australia should contribute
The crucial role for the Green Climate Fund – and why Australia should contribute
It’s vital to international climate solidarity and Australia rejoining is key to unlocking more global funding for the Pacific.
Revitalising the Green Climate Fund
Policy Briefs
Revitalising the Green Climate Fund
The world’s largest climate-dedicated multilateral fund must increase its focus on serving the most climate vulnerable countries, including in the Pacific Islands region.
China’s troubles may well get worse before they get better
China’s troubles may well get worse before they get better
There is no straightforward path to escape weak demand and the financial risks from the ongoing real estate bust.
The constrained ambition of Australia’s new development policy
The constrained ambition of Australia’s new development policy
Aid “rebuild” focuses on quality and smarter geopolitics, but not dollars.
Sri Lanka’s deep debt bind
Sri Lanka’s deep debt bind
Imposing losses on domestic creditors essentially imposes losses on the country itself.
It’s no surprise Australia shrugged off China’s campaign of trade coercion
It’s no surprise Australia shrugged off China’s campaign of trade coercion
New modelling confirms an early Lowy Institute conclusion that Beijing’s bluster would cause minimal economic damage.
Scrapping IMF surcharges is key to cutting debt burden on distressed nations
Commentary
Scrapping IMF surcharges is key to cutting debt burden on distressed nations
Originally published in MDB Reform Accelerator
Scrapping IMF surcharges is key to cutting debt burden on distressed nations
Scrapping IMF surcharges is key to cutting debt burden on distressed nations
The economic logic of charging beyond lending rates doesn’t add up and also undermines the Fund’s legitimacy.
Paris Climate Summit: A New Global Financing Pact Takes Shape
Commentary
Paris Climate Summit: A New Global Financing Pact Takes Shape
Originally published in MDB Reform Accelerator
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