Ali is the director of the research department at State Bank of Pakistan- the central bank. He grew up in France and graduated from Kingston University (London) in 1996 with a First Class honours degree in Economics with Politics and Languages with a distinction in spoken French and was also awarded the Jonathan Cromptom Memorial Prize. He received MSc and PhD, both in Economics, from Birkbeck College, University of London 1997 and 2001. He has lectured various courses at Birkbeck as a part-time teacher during his PhD. He has also served as a consultant to the European Commission and the World Bank before moving to the University of Surrey in 2001. He was appointed as the director of the research department in 2008. His current areas of interest are frictions of formal and informal labour, product and credit markets, and economic growth. He also leads the macroeconomic modeling effort at the central bank to facilitate monetary policy.