Maldives: Op-Eds and Opinion | Asian Development Bank

Maldives: Op-Eds and Opinion

  • Home to a quarter of the world's population, this vast region will be hit harder than just about anywhere else. Sudden flooding, storms, droughts and other hazards will upend lives, livelihoods, and economies.
  • Europe's sovereign debt and banking crisis threatens to tear apart the 17-nation eurozone. Meanwhile, Asia is accelerating co-operation and integration.
  • The euro-zone crisis has dominated discussions among policymakers over the past few years, but the economic slowdown in Asia's two giants - [People's Republic of] China and India - has become a source of growing public concern as well. How worried should we be about an additional drag on the global economy?
  • The striking reduction in extreme poverty over the past two decades is in good measure a reflection of [People's Republic of] China's ability to lift some 500 million people above the poverty line. But this progress begs the question if extreme poverty can be eliminated in the next 20 years.
  • After a remarkable run, Asian countries are finding it increasingly difficult to sustain past rates of economic growth. In the aftermath of the 2008-2009 global financial crisis, governments across the region have plenty to worry about: slowing growth in [People's Republic of] China and India, a debt crisis in the eurozone and tepid recovery in the United States.
  • Are Asia's recent floods the result of bad luck, bad weather or bad design? Manila was left paralysed, with a third of the city under water and thousands evacuated from their homes. A few weeks earlier, the worst floods to hit Beijing in 30 years killed 77 people and affected nearly one million others. A year ago, Thailand's floods caused the deaths of more than 600 people. The estimated cost of the damage was 12 per cent of gross domestic product when Bangkok was inundated.
  • Countries around the world, including Asia, have been buffeted by a succession of economic, financial and climate-related shocks over the past four years. Many countries in this region are finding it increasingly difficult to sustain past stellar rates of economic growth and poverty reduction, raising the spectre that even more of the poor will be left behind.
  • It is often said that as countries climb from low- to middle-income status, income inequality typically worsens before getting better. Whether this is an iron-clad law or not, what is true is that inequality in middle-income countries - such as Brazil, [People's Republic of] China, Mexico or the Philippines - could cap continued high growth and contribute to the "middle-income trap".
  • Asia's recent doubling of its financial safety net looks impressive. But it's more icing than cake. It is, in fact, unusable.
  • As the rest of the world struggles with sluggish growth, it is tempting to see Asia as a bright spot in the global economy. The region is likely to maintain what, from the perspective of Europe or the US, looks like a miraculous growth rate of 7 per cent over the next couple of years.

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