New ADB, ADBI Book Highlights Region's Potential

News Release | 2 May 2012

MANILA, PHILIPPINES - National wealth in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), People's Republic of China (PRC) and India could exceed that of the US and Europe combined by 2030, but only if the three economies take steps now to overcome challenges and reduce risks, according to highlights of a new book launched today by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI).

"These three region and countries are on a path to significantly improve the quality of life of their citizens - in aggregate approaching half of the world's population by 2030," ADB President Haruhiko Kuroda said at this book's launch at the 45th Annual Meeting of ADB's Board of Governors. "By that time, PRC could reach high-income country status, while ASEAN as a whole and India would be close behind. The three could be home to the world's leading consumers, producers, savers, investors and financiers."

The highlights of ASEAN, the PRC, and India: The Great Transformation? indicate that realizing this goal would require that each improve productivity through innovation and new technologies; establish knowledge-driven economies; build seamless infrastructure connectivity; and reform and develop the financial sector.

The book's highlights also argue that the three economies will have to depend increasingly on their own and regional markets, investments, and institutions to generate sustained growth. Without inclusive growth, widening income and social inequality are likely to persist and could undermine social cohesion and stability. Strengthening governance, accountability, institutional effectiveness and eradicating corruption are crucial for inclusive growth and better quality of life.

The book's highlights predict that unless the challenges of energy and water security and reduction of CO2 emissions are addressed, these could amplify global environmental risks and geopolitical tensions. To meet their potential, each economy will need to manage energy, food, and water effectively, balancing growth with environmental sustainability.