Listen to us: Asia's Developing Future | Asian Development Bank

At the forefront of growth and development in Asia and the Pacific

Listen to us: Asia's Developing Future

Asia’s Developing Future, a podcast that makes the complex simple. Making economics clear to anyone who isn’t an expert isn’t easy, so ADBI has started reaching out to its audience of policy makers and government officials—and anyone interested in development—in a new way: through audio. Asia’s Developing Future simplifies technical ideas and presents them in 5–10-minute episodes. Listeners can follow the podcast on SoundCloud and subscribe on iTunes.

13 December 2017 Trade imbalance data is better than it looks

Trade deficits are considered bad news for economies, and for an economy the size of the United States, a deficit of $745 billion in 2015, the largest seen in decades, would be cause for alarm.

13 December 2017 Economic growth can be measured by counting tax revenue

It can be hard to measure the effects of infrastructure investment on an economy. Knowing whether an investment worked means somehow identifying the revenue it generated amidst the noise of an economy in full swing.

5 December 2017 Asia trade needs to get ready for the impact of Brexit and the US undoing of NAFTA

Brexit and a potential US withdrawal from the North American Free Trade Agreement could have large ripple effects on trade in Asia, helping some countries and hurting others, according to prominent trade economist Ben Shepherd. What’s more, Asia’s tightly integrated supply chains could be disrupted in the aftermath.

5 December 2017 A simple change in transport infrastructure thinking can have wide social effects

Improved transportation links help communities prosper financially, but there’s an unexpected social dividend that can compound that prosperity—lower rates of smoking and drinking and higher levels of school attendance.

30 November 2017 India’s cities are encouraging manufacturing to promote growth

Urban areas contribute nearly two-thirds of India’s gross domestic product, even though they account for only 31 percent of the country’s population. They are India’s growth engines.

30 November 2017 The world is facing a new nexus between urbanization, development, environment, and inequality

Urbanization is associated with economic growth, but it’s a fine balance before rural poverty simply shifts to the cities and the cities become too big to sustain development, sucking growth out of gross domestic product.

22 November 2017 Governments should prepare for migration surges by providing housing, schools, roads, transport

Urbanization has accelerated in the past few decades as thousands daily move to towns and cities in search of a better life, or better education opportunities for their children. Economic development is a natural spur to internal migration, but other factors may be may be in play in recent rapid demographic shifts, not least wider access to information over the Internet.

22 November 2017 Developing Asia urgently needs to examine who should pay for the elderly

Developing Asian countries must introduce more comprehensive public welfare programs for the elderly as their economies transition from traditional filial altruism and the extended family to parental altruism and the nuclear family.

16 November 2017 Asia shows unconventional monetary policy works in crisis

Hit by the 1997–1998 Asian financial crisis, economies in Southeast Asia adopted unconventional monetary policy measures to ride out the financial storm, and were the stronger for it, teaching a few unorthodox lessons to developed economies left reeling by the global crisis a decade later.

16 November 2017 Rapid economic growth breeds inequality in Indonesia

Indonesia’s economy grew rapidly over the past 30 years, in large part due to sweeping political and institutional reforms, the right mix of economic policy packages, and the development of fairer economic institutions, but progress made in reducing poverty and income inequality is faltering.

8 November 2017 PRC slowdown offers a chance to readjust trade priorities

Around the world, researchers and analysts are closely watching the economic performance of the People’s Republic of China in the wake of its recent slowing growth and the possible impact of that downturn on developed and developing economies.

8 November 2017 Developing countries have chance to start green energy development

Developing countries are relatively well positioned as they expand their energy capacity, with a banquet of climate-clean, sustainable, and renewable sources to choose from, while developed countries try to overcome centralization and replace long-established fossil and fissile sources bound up in laws and regulations, a French energy expert says.

8 November 2017 Emerging Asia’s integration has pluses and minuses

Since the early 20th century, emerging Asia has been subjected to the ebb and flow of lending from advanced economies. Since then the region has become more integrated into the global financial market, which has been exposed to the risk of capital flow reversals.

24 October 2017 In Asia, aging parents get more help from daughters than sons

Parents in developing Asia tend to spend more on sons but receive higher returns from daughters, turning on its head an age-old belief that sons—not daughters—take care of their aging parents.

24 October 2017 India’s elderly poor are being left behind

Poverty among the elderly in developing countries such as India is on the rise as the traditional extended family unit dissolves, fertility rates decline, migration to urban jobs rises, and government attempts to improve aged care have left many falling through the gaps.

24 October 2017 Ways to jumpstart global productivity

It’s been nearly a decade since the 2008 global financial crisis, and world economic growth rates are almost back where they were after a long, painful but instructive haul, and both developed and emerging economies have added a lot to their financial tool kits.

17 October 2017 Peer-to-peer lending opens capital access to start ups, but at a risk—David Storey, ADBI analyst

Peer-to-peer lending is an emerging form of finance enabled by the Internet, matching investors with borrowers to get around rigid bank requirements faced by small and medium-sized enterprises—SMEs—and start-ups.

17 October 2017 Housing lessons from Hong Kong, China, South Korea, Singapore

Asia and the Pacific are home to 4.3 billion people, and half the world’s urban population, with 120,000 people moving to cities every day, creating daily demand for 20,000 affordable homes.

17 October 2017 Trade creates jobs in Viet Nam but technology might be harming low-skilled workers

Low-skilled workers in Viet Nam are hardest hit by market reforms and technology, with efficiency coming at the cost of jobs. Exposure to foreign markets and access to digital technologies raise demand for different types of skills, and while it has been good for the economy, more and more workers are being left behind.q

10 October 2017 How demographics affected the fortunes of Japan’s private railways—ADBI Dean

The idea of sharing future tax revenues with private investors is being promoted by the Asian Development Bank Institute—the ADBI—in Tokyo to help finance the region’s huge demand for infrastructure. But Naoyuki Yoshino, the dean of the institute, warns that future revenues need to be sustained for such financing to succeed in the longer term.

10 October 2017 Remittances reduce poverty in Asia

Remittances to developing countries in Asia help improve their economies with the net gains from exporting labor, and improve the lives of the poor people forced to work overseas—often for decades—because jobs are lacking at home.

10 October 2017 Economic corridors are looking good for Greater Mekong

Economic corridors forming around the Greater Mekong Subregion have opened the way to greater development as better infrastructure leads to improved roads and bridges between neighbors.

2 October 2017 Ha Noi can offer more attractive terms to private investors in a new ring road—ADBI Dean

Ha Noi, the Vietnamese capital, is renowned for its congested traffic. The government wants to build a third ring road around the city. But it doesn’t have enough money for such a major project, with two other ring roads already under way. Some of the construction is being funded on a BOT basis—build, operate, transfer, whereby the investor constructs and maintains the ring road and gets the toll revenue for a certain period before handing it back to the public—and official development assistance from the Japan International Cooperation Agency.

2 October 2017 Beyond speaking truth to power—Adam Posen, head, Peterson Institute for International Economics

Think tanks try to influence the powerful—people who hold government office and make decisions—by independently speaking the truth and not being afraid to do so. Adam Posen, president of the Peterson Institute for International Economics, a Washington think tank, says that doesn’t seem to be enough these days.

2 October 2017 Japan's banks are transmitting lower interest rates to Asia—Robert McCauley, BIS

Japanese banks, insurance companies, and pension funds are investing in the US and other financial markets, due to the low or even negative interest rates at home. But their demand is pushing up the price of hedging, so when their dollars get converted back into yen, they lose money along the way.

25 September 2017 Some positive lessons from the Asian financial crisis—Hyun-Song Shin, BIS

Developing country economies are proving to be a competitive market for investment in local bonds because they offer relatively high yields and long maturities, which limit the risk of fluctuations in the US dollar, although not the risk to the developing economy.

25 September 2017 Obesity and overweight cost about US$166 billion in Asia and the Pacific

Obesity and overweight are among the main risk factors of noncommunicable diseases that kill millions of people worldwide. How much do these diseases cost health systems and economies?

25 September 2017 The People’s Republic of China is exporting industrial capacity and financial risk

As the People’s Republic of China — the PRC — develops its “Go Global” suite of policies, it has expanded international capacity cooperation as a way to adjust to the “new normal” of low industrial growth.

18 September 2017 Northeast India can get private firms to fund roads with the promise of spillover effects—ADBI Dean

Spillovers are the additional economic activities created by new infrastructure. A new highway will often attract new businesses and create jobs. As a result, governments will receive more revenue from property taxes, corporate taxes, income taxes, and sales taxes. So, to attract private companies with higher returns, governments need to share those future tax revenues with investors. ADBI Dean Naoyuki Yoshino explains further in this episode.

18 September 2017 Pension crisis looms in emerging Asia

Many emerging Asian economies will likely face a pension fund crisis by 2030 if they fail to set aside sufficient money in a gradually aging region to care for their elderly.

18 September 2017 ASEAN is banking on “clean” coal in the absence of an alternative

Coal as an energy source in power plants will continue to increase in ASEAN and East Asia in the coming decades in the absence of a viable energy alternative, stoking fears of an upsurge in carbon dioxide emissions and greenhouse gases.

11 September 2017 Cambodian banks are looking at a deposit-insurance system

It’s been almost 2 decades since the central bank moved to clean up the country’s private banks. Back then, Cambodia didn’t have a single ATM. Today, branches with ATMs are common in provincial areas, deposits have increased, and credit has grown quickly. Minimum capital requirements have been raised. And in a country where cash was once king, electronic payments are now widespread.

11 September 2017 US exit from Trans-Pacific Partnership paves way for greater PRC influence in Asia-Pacific

“The US exit from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) has paved the way for the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to dominate and have a greater influence in the Asia-Pacific region,” said Geethanjali Nataraj of India’s Institute of Public Administration at a recent Asian Development Bank Institute seminar.

11 September 2017 Can trade create jobs globally?

Win-Win—How International Trade Can Help Meet the Sustainable Development Goals was recently published by ADBI and edited by ADBI senior economist Matthias Helble and Ben Shepherd, principal at Developing Trade Consultants.

4 September 2017 “Everyone is born an entrepreneur.” M. Yunus, Grameen Bank, Nobel laureate

Muhammad Yunus believes the world must look again at what banks should be—and what they should do. The Bangladeshi Nobel laureate and founder of Grameen Bank also wants to upend our thinking about jobs and entrepreneurship.

4 September 2017 The sharp rise in overweight and obesity in Asia and the Pacific threatens their prosperity

Obesity has reached world-wide epidemic proportions. Overweight and obesity weaken the body, hamper lower-body mobility, and impede daily activities. In older people, they cause physical dysfunction and increase the risk of disability. Overweight and obesity also raise the risks for ischemic heart disease, hypertension, stroke, diabetes, and certain cancers.

4 September 2017 How does exchange rate volatility influence exports?

The debate about the influence of exchange rates volatility on trade is intensifying, as US President Donald Trump attempts to blame the People’s Republic of China’s exchange rate policy for the US current account deficit.

28 August 2017 Think tanks should look beyond economics to cultural and societal values. Guntram Wolff, Bruegel

With the United States walking away this year from multilateral deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Paris Agreement on climate change, is globalization doomed? Guntram Wolff, the director of Brussels-based economic think tank Bruegel, thinks not, given the importance of Europe and Asia.

28 August 2017 Information and communication technology empowers women

Women in emerging Asian economies will be big winners in e-commerce and online trade, which will help them overcome geographic isolation and limited access to information and financing. But obstacles remain.

28 August 2017 Lack of infrastructure, rules hamper developing Asia’s digital trade

A fast-growing digital economy is opening new opportunities for small and large businesses, but developing Asia is hampered by a lack of infrastructure and outmoded regulations.

21 August 2017 Asian financial crisis—looking back, looking forward. M. Ayhan Kose, World Bank

Asia’s emerging economies are becoming more focused on the region and less dependent on global markets, but they need to protect themselves from risks of becoming too reliant on the emerging giants such as the People’s Republic of China.

21 August 2017 Will 2025 be the final deadline for the ASEAN Economic Community?

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has delayed establishing an ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) by a decade as it strives to emulate the European Union and promote collective growth.

21 August 2017 Grassroots funding boosts green energy projects in Japan

Local communities in Japan are taking sustainable energy into their own hands, with small investors backing wind and solar projects instead of waiting for the government to act. Hometown investment trust funds are using the Internet to tap local investors for 100 dollars to 5,000 dollars to fund projects where they live.

10 August 2017 E-commerce is changing how the world does business

E-commerce is increasingly leading the way in the global marketplace, taking a bigger share of world trade, creating more jobs, and pushing economic growth, but also challenging Asia's developing economies.

10 August 2017 Path to financial inclusion is better financial education, literacy

As finance becomes more inclusive, financial services will reach people who have no experience with formal finance structures, and they may fail to use the services fully or properly. Financial education is a crucial component of successful financial inclusion. Even in advanced economies, significant gaps remain in financial literacy.

10 August 2017 Financial regulations need to adapt to digital finance

Digital financial services are being used to draw more people into the global financial system. Digital financial services must therefore be developed and regulated to safeguard against risk and to secure consumer protection.

3 August 2017 Pointers from Asia for urbanization in Africa

Africa and Asia are latecomers to urbanization. In these two continents, less than half live in urban centers, while elsewhere, more than 70% of people do. But Africa and Asia are now rapidly urbanizing, with Asian cities growing at an average of 1.5% per year and Africa’s at 1.1% per year.

3 August 2017 Trade is ripe for disruption because it’s inefficient and not particularly inclusive. Alisa DiCaprio

Digital technology can speed up economic growth, but only if people have the right skills, said the panelists at the Asian Development Bank annual meeting in May. ADBI research fellow Alisa DiCaprio told Devex that the bank can advance technology diffusion and adoption, and should invest in information and communication technology or ICT where progress has not benefited the many.

3 August 2017 Central Asia and the Caucasus farm sector needs a boost

Agriculture in Central Asia and the Caucasus not only ensures the food supply, but also supports the majority of the rural population and creates jobs. Although agriculture’s share of gross domestic product or GDP has declined since 2000, it still accounts for a large proportion of GDP in several countries. Tajikistan’s agriculture sector makes up over one quarter of GDP. Armenia accounts over a fifth of GDP to agriculture, while and Uzbekistan and the Kyrgyz Republic have a little under a fifth.

26 July 2017 Blockchain pilots making waves in developing Asia

In a blockchain, each block is “chained” to the previous one in a peer-to-peer data sharing network. We’ve all heard the buzz about the potential applications of blockchain technology. But what’s actually happening in developing countries in Asia and the Pacific?

26 July 2017 Postal savings accounts benefit women, the poor, and rural people the most

Putting savings to work is crucial for Asia’s developing economies. In developing Asia, however, access to credit, savings and payment services remains limited. In 2014, only 36 percent of adults in East Asia and the Pacific had formal savings accounts and only 11 percent had access to formal credit.

26 July 2017 Farms in Central Asia and the Caucasus face hurdles

Farms need the right policies, regulations, and institutions backing them. They need access to credit and adequate market infrastructure, support for technology and innovation, and greater opportunities for private sector investment.

14 July 2017 Post offices can serve those who can’t access banks but must be regulated so they’re accountable

Post offices can deliver financial services to people who don’t have access to traditional banks. But developing efficient postal finance isn’t easy.

14 July 2017 Viet Nam shows how to integrate an agricultural value chain

In 2010, Viet Nam launched a public–private partnership project called the Partnership for Sustainable Agriculture, which drew interest from big companies.

14 July 2017 What can governments in Asia do to help SMEs succeed in export markets?

The SME Competitiveness Outlook of the International Trade Center helps governments understand the challenges that SMEs face in their quest to either penetrate the export market or expand export shipments.

6 July 2017 Education, jobs, SMES needed to spread wealth. Haruhiko Kuroda, Bank of Japan governor

Despite remarkable growth in per capita GDP over the past 50 years, poverty remains widespread in Asia, says Haruhiko Kuroda, governor of the Central Bank of Japan and former president of the Asian Development Bank.

6 July 2017 SMEs need financial education; post offices can go where banks can’t. Naoyuki Yoshino, ADBI dean

Naoyuki Yoshino, dean of the Asian Development Bank Institute, told VTC10–NETVIET in Ha Noi, Viet Nam, that small business owners need education to be able to access finance.

6 July 2017 Negative interest rates to remain important. Narayana Kocherlakota, former Minneapolis Fed CEO

Negative interest rates will likely remain important, says the University of Rochester’s Professor Narayana Kocherlakota, former president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.

6 July 2017 Global micro insurance can help reduce poverty

Micro insurance could potentially reach 3 billion people and earn the industry up to $30 billion from insurance premiums. But only about 5% of the total market in Asia, Africa, and Latin America is covered, and only about 20% of micro insurance is being distributed by microfinance institutions globally.

6 July 2017 Training, info, women’s involvement can bolster fragile states. Patrick Safran, ex- ADB official

Fragility and conflict are interlinked, particularly in states, as conflict is usually the result of fragility reaching a climax, says Patrick Safran, a senior official of the Asian Development Bank when he spoke at ADBI.

6 July 2017 SMEs need help with rules and entering export markets. Arancha Gonzales, ITC executive director

Standards and regulations for export companies are multiplying, and for a small company the challenge of complying can be daunting.