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.
Blockchain technology may be used to finance local renewable-energy projects. The technology, which basically acts as an electronic ledger, allows transactions to be carried out between parties without interference by third parties like banks.
If you have a good story, you can change the world. If your story makes people laugh, you have an even better chance at success.
Asia and the Pacific need to ensure not only that more people have access to financial products and services but also that the poor can wield them to build wealth.
The Republic of Korea could improve its citizens’ overall well-being by tackling inequality in the workforce that has left women falling behind their male counterparts.
To be or not to be? That is the question confronting Malaysia’s state-linked companies. Should the government sell its stake in them as they are embroiled in controversy after controversy?
The fast growth of a high-speed rail network in the People’s Republic of China has widened market access and boosted incomes. Expanding access to high-speed rail even further would help solve some of the country’s toughest problems.
Small and medium-sized businesses in the Republic of Korea lag well behind their bigger counterparts in productivity, and the gap is getting wider.
The drop from peak oil prices is testing Azerbaijan’s economy and its people’s ability to adjust to a more modern financial system.
Big family business groups known as chaebol still dominate in the Republic of Korea, stifling the growth of other businesses and causing investors to look twice before putting money in the country.
By 2050, half the world’s population will live in Asia and the Pacific. Each year, Asian cities’ total population increases by as many as 44 million people. In their wake are millions of tons of solid waste.
The Republic of Korea should hold off on increasing the minimum wage for a year or so while it considers the effect of past hikes.
Outsourcing may mean bigger profits for companies seeking cheaper ways to produce goods and services, but it’s not all good news for the host countries.
Fifty years after Japan launched its high-speed railway line, there’s no denying it’s been a game-changer. Run by Japan National Railways, the shinkansen cuts travel time between historical economic centers and connects a network of cities.
Financial liberalization is typically associated with bringing benefits to emerging economies—cutting red tape, boosting growth, expanding trade, and creating jobs and opportunity. Is it just what China needs as the country’s leaders grapple with how to guide it to the next level?
Since at least the beginning of the 1990s, economists have noted that innovation is indispensable to competitive advantage. But what about for manufacturing? Conventional wisdom has long been hostile to altering proven production methods.
For ambitious economies that have recently overcome historical economic obstacles and become stable and vibrant engines of growth, the question now is how to make growth sustainable and inclusive.
Electric utilities around the world are expected to be greatly transformed by deregulation, climate change, the rise of renewable energy, new technologies, declining populations, and changing user needs.
Asian economies and financial systems are becoming ever more integrated, but their monitoring has not kept pace and better safeguards are needed. This is especially true for cross-border issues.
Solar energy is growing fast as total capacity worldwide surges with the decline of solar-panel prices. It’s cheap and it works.
The People’s Republic of China’s integration into the global economy and East and West Germany’s reunification show the Democratic People's Republic of Korea — or the DPRK — how it might become a market economy within 20 to 25 years.
Asian emerging market economies adopted a range of measures after the Asian financial crisis in the late 1990s to shelter themselves from economic and financial contagion. So far, those moves have succeeded. But with new challenges rising, some of the tools they turned to may need readjusting so that they don’t cause more problems than they cure.
The People’s Republic of China’s gradual shift from a currency policy pegged to the US dollar to one that tracks the movements of a range of currencies was the correct choice given the challenges, and neighbors Malaysia and Singapore were best served by reacting in a similar way.
A brewing trade war over steel is threatening to bring the world back to the economic “dark ages” when countries used trade curbs to retaliate politically against rival governments.
When India started opening its markets to international trade in the 1990s, what impact did it have on manufacturing and labor’s share of income? The answer lies in an analysis of plant-level data, which requires classifying industries as labor, human capital resource, or technology intensive. But first, what pushed India to open its doors?
Energy price shocks—negative and positive—can have a powerful economic knock-on effect, especially on food prices where food is scarce. Even though great strides have been made since 1945 in feeding Asia’s huge populations, more than 500 million people still face food insecurity. Of the world’s undernourished, almost 65% live in Asia.
Recent financial crises have highlighted the need to update the global institutions for financial and economic oversight that were founded more than 70 years ago, and their Asian counterparts that have been developing over the last 20 years.
Asia and the Pacific have deepened economic integration through trade and foreign direct investment since the early 1990s. But financial market integration within the region has not progressed as quickly.
The International Monetary Fund learned a thing or two from the 1997 Asian financial crisis, which helped it respond better to the 2008 global financial crisis.
Strong and consistent incentives and greater policy stability and coordination between levels of government are needed to engender green energy financing in New Zealand and Australia, according to the Asian Development Bank Institute.
The PRC’s financial system is developing rapidly, swelling the country’s bank assets to become the largest in the world, and there are worrying similarities with the global dominance of Japan’s banks in the late 1980s.
One of India’s major exports can readily be seen in computer science faculties, at information technology events, or among programmers and developers in most parts of the world—the IT professional.
Developing economies often lack sophisticated equity markets, meaning that firms that are focused on innovation must rely on bank lending, but tight bank policies can undermine the culture of innovation that is essential to growth.
Central banks and regulators should be on the frontline of fighting the carbon emissions driving climate change, and a more proactive approach can address the visible side effects in Asia, such as the annual choking smoke haze that envelops parts of the region.
With aging becoming a pressing issue in many countries, especially in Asia, governments need better indicators that track the well-being of the elderly to craft policies to better meet the needs of the aged.
Businesses around the world need to pay closer attention to technology, design, branding, and other forms of intangible assets, if they want an edge over their competitors in keeping customers interested.
Fintech or, more fully, financial technology, is the buzz word in the startup world. But while the winners in this revolution are entrepreneurs and investors, there are clear benefits for the developing world.
World oil price volatility affects the economies of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries as well as their non-OPEC counterparts, but little attention is paid to non-OPEC economies, which don’t have a formal bloc to lobby for them.
As parts of the developed world tighten foreign worker laws and maintain a hostile rhetoric against “immigrants” and “refugees,” a new report shows Asian migrant workers add economic value to their new countries.
Headlines about the rebirth of a trans-Pacific trade pact in Santiago, Chile in March have concentrated on the absence of the United States from the 11-nation agreement, or the trade gains expected for each of its signatories.
Ghost cities full of empty apartment blocks are evidence of the central government’s failure to slow booming house construction in the People’s Republic of China.
A growth slowdown in the People’s Republic of China causing a decline in trade would be felt across Asia, with commodity exporters and trade partners closest to the country hit hardest.
Domestic structural change is necessary if the People's Republic of China is to sustain economic growth of as high as 8% a year over the next 10 years.
The nature of the People’s Republic of China’s growth slowdown is a key question for the global economy. If it’s a bump in the road, growth in China should soon return to a high rate that can help support global growth.
The bulk of Asia’s exports runs through, rather than to, the People’s Republic of China, leaving the region more exposed to downturns and anti-trade sentiments in developed countries than to a domestic slowdown in China.
The People’s Republic of China needs to refocus its economy to avoid slipping into an economic downturn that could be worse than the one Japan has suffered for more than the past 2 decades.
Hundreds of thousands of children in Indonesia are growing taller and heavier thanks to the government’s rice subsidy program, which ensures better nutrition despite flaws in the scheme.
Green bonds, which first appeared in 2007, finance projects that deliver environmental or climate benefits such as climate change mitigation and adaptation investments.
Negative interest rates in Japan are leading banks, pension funds, and other investors to look overseas for better returns, but they are mostly ignoring developing Asia, and with rates rising in the US and Europe, that is unlikely to change.
Central banks are running out of wiggle room, having lowered interest rates, in some cases to zero or negative, and are losing influence over markets becoming accustomed to a low-rate regime.
Ultra-low or negative interest rates in Japan, the United States, and Europe placed a difficult burden on other central banks and may threaten their independence in the future.
Big swings in global commodity prices unnerve governments in developing countries reliant on such export revenue, and curb credit growth as banks tighten lending during price volatility.
Global governance has undergone significant change since the late 1990s, with the number of global players in health, trade, and development finance rapidly increasing, mobilizing more funds for health and development in developing countries, and spurring global trade.
Laws in developing countries generally reflect their unique cultures, which may restrict innovation and risk-taking, throwing obstacles in the path to development. Strong legal mechanisms, including intellectual property rights and patent protection, allow innovation to thrive.
Water may be saved through trade provided it moves from countries that use water wisely to those lacking water, as a coming water crisis—driven by climate change, neglect of infrastructure, and misguided policies—threatens global economic growth in countries struggling to develop, and in developed countries.
PRC’s 2009 economic stimulus program after the global financial crisis led to the growth of shadow banking as local governments scrambled to pay off their obligations under the program.
A coming water crisis, driven by climate change, neglect of infrastructure, and misguided policies, is threatening global economic growth in countries struggling to develop, and in developed countries, too.
Peer-to-peer or P2P lending is a way of financing debt online so that people can borrow and lend money without going through a financial institution, like a bank. P2P, also known as social lending or crowd lending, has no need for a middleman and has emerged as an alternative to traditional lending institutions around the world.
Developing countries can benefit from globalization if they fix potential problems at home before opening their economies. Failing to do so can multiply local problems as money streams across borders, suggests ADBI research.
Listen to stories on urbanization in India, how the Republic of Korea won back investors after the 1997 financial crisis, food insecurity in Asia, another way to view US trade, and widening income inequality in the PRC.
Providing total and improved sanitation services is a challenge across Asia, as population growth—up 5.7% on average in the past two decades—overwhelms existing infrastructure and outpaces planning.
Small and medium-sized enterprises are the backbone of Asia’s economies. The Asian Development Bank’s most recent SME survey covered 20 countries in Central, East, South, Southeast Asia, and the Paciﬁc and showed that SMEs accounted for an average of 96% of all enterprises and 62% of the national labor force.
Basic household sanitation has long been outside the reach of cost-effective comprehensive solutions, especially in communities dependent on septic rather than sewage systems. But this is changing.
Women who own small businesses are increasingly turning to digital platforms to source capital for growth as they battle discrimination from formal channels.
Recent demographic and societal changes in both developing and developed countries have affected the employment of migrant workers in economies worldwide, and few sectors illustrate the international impact of these changes more than domestic work and home-based care.
Emerging economies can learn a lot from how the Republic of Korea faced down the financial crises of 1997 and 2008, and emerged from hard economic slowdown stronger than ever.
An already widening gap between rich and poor in the People’s Republic of China is likely to worsen due to its rapidly aging population.
Robust institutions and low levels of corruption are more important to reducing hunger than population size or the state of a country’s natural resources.
India and the People’s Republic of China must act quickly if they are to have enough to eat over the coming decades.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
Post offices can deliver financial services to people who don’t have access to traditional banks. But developing efficient postal finance isn’t easy.
In 2010, Viet Nam launched a public–private partnership project called the Partnership for Sustainable Agriculture, which drew interest from big companies.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Standards and regulations for export companies are multiplying, and for a small company the challenge of complying can be daunting.