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ADB shows concern over rising rich-poor divide in Asia

February 4, 2012

Many are speculating┬áthat after west, it is time for Asia to lead the world. 21st century is allying with Asia and expecting it to be the next power region. Development in major Asian regions has proved it correct. Countries like China, India, Japan and Southeast are perfect examples of it, where prosperity, overall development and increasing living standard authenticate the facts. Despite crossing major initial impediments, the Asian Development Bank’s report deterred its entire claim as it pictured the murky side of the development. Report asserted that wealth gap is widening in the region and lives of poor are becoming deplorable, meanwhile rich are successfully accumulating more money. China and India are holding the reign of Asia’s development; both are listed on the top ten in the ADB’s annual report. China is holding 2nd position after civil war wrecked Nepal, while India is holding 7th position. Asian region experienced major boom recently and China and India, both got bigger pie out of it, but ironically, failed to distribute the profit fairly among all. China and India’s economy is expanding with the healthy pace of 11.9% and 8 to 9 % respectively, but instead of sharing growth among all, influential people were able to pocket in 20% out of it. In the report, bank also featured minor countries like Cambodia, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, where disparity of wealth is growing rapidly. However, poorer countries like Pakistan and Philippines have done better then the big Asian players in terms of inequality. Thailand has the most impressive record in Asia. It has reduced inequality by over 5%, while Indonesia and Malaysia have also managed to reduce inequality to some extent. The report seems shocking, but the situation isn’t as worse as it appears. The growing wealth gap is a byproduct of globalization, which has brought higher incomes to urban, skilled, English-speaking workers in all countries and gap can be stretch forward if the government doesn’t intervene here effectively as poorer have less access to quality education, health care, bank loans and other things needed to benefit from economic growth. The government needs to come up with new policies to provide the decisive shares to poor people. Implementation of hardcore economic reform along with social protection mechanisms and skills and training programs could be enough steps to narrow the gap. Apart from this, Asian governments need to increase the partnership between the public and private sectors to develop new economic activities and industries that generate new employment opportunities for the poor. Image Source