Poverty, Inequality and Economic Growth in Asia

Feature | 5 May 2012

The landscape of aid has changed dramatically in the past 10 years.

  1. Asia has cut the number of extreme poor by 430 million from 2005 to 2010 but it remains home to two thirds of the world's poor.
  2. Four fifths of the region's population live in countries with rising inequality.
  3. Treating developing Asia as a single unit, its Gini coefficient - the most common measure of inequality - has worsened from 39 to 46 in the past 2 decades.
  4. If inequality had remained stable over the past 20 years in countries where it has risen, another 240 million more people could have escaped poverty.
  5. The south has been growing fast, accounting for 45% of world GDP in 2010, up from about 28% in 1990.
  6. Southern regions' share of total world trade more than doubled from 7% to 17% between 1990 and 2009.
  7. Developing Asia accounts for about 75% of south-south trade, with the PRC alone accounting for about 40%.
  8. Duties imposed on south-south traded goods are significantly higher than those on goods traded between southern and northern regions.
  9. The average size of aid funding has been cut in half over the past 10 years.
  10. There are over 4,000 bilateral development programs in developing countries but half of them amount to less than 5% of total aid flows.
  11. Inefficiencies from fragmented donor programs may cost as much as $5 billion annually.
  12. Republic of Korea rose from 3rd world to developed status in a decade supported by global development assistance and is now a donor to its neighbors.
  13. At the Busan aid effectiveness forum in 2011, participants agreed to develop formal targets for measuring aid commitments by June 2012.