February 18, 2015--Sunil Sinha, the Managing Director of Nathan Associates London, a thought leader and a prominent advocate of private sector development as a key pillar for the reduction of poverty, died suddenly on February 6.
Sunil, who was born in India, studied Economics at the London School of Economics and then at the School of Oriental and African Studies. He joined Nathan Associates London (then Emerging Market Economics) in 1999, following earlier spells with Coopers and Lybrand and then with his own company RES & Co. While primarily trained as an economist, he had a wide range of knowledge and was always well read and at the forefront of advances in the field of economic development. This enabled him to deliver highly sought after consultancy services for the development of policy and execution of research, as well as the design and implementation of programs.
Over the last fifteen years, Sunil made significant contributions to the development of new approaches following the breakdown of the Washington consensus, greatly advancing our understanding of how private sector development could play a central role in supporting poverty reduction efforts. He was one of the authors of the important OECD framework document Accelerating Pro-Poor Growth through Support for Private Sector Development in 2004. More recently he made important contributions to the emergence of methodologies that put market systems at the centre of programmes and in the development of tools and approaches for donors to work directly with the private sector, particularly the challenge fund instrument.
As a consultant Sunil had an exceptional ability to translate theory and diagnostic analysis into practical and pragmatic solutions. Just as important, he was also committed to ensuring that those working with him on assignments fully understood the why, what, and how behind any intervention. This is perhaps the key reason why he is so fondly remembered by people he worked with all over the world.
Nathan Associates London was Sunil’s second family. This meant that he saw the development of its staff as a central part of his work. He has mentored many young development professionals within the Company and often has continued to give them advice when they have moved on. He had the same approach with clients, and many staff in client organisations also came to know Sunil as a friend and as a person they could pick up the phone to and ask for advice at any time.
“Sunil was a unique person, loved and admired by many,’’ said Lakhbir Singh, president and chief executive officer of Nathan Associates Inc., the parent company. “He possessed a keen intellect, a wonderful sense of humor, and a capacity for friendship that was truly extraordinary.’’
Sunil Sinha is survived by his wife Clare and children Sahil and Priya.