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Inclusive Growth and Poverty Reduction

From poverty reduction to inclusive growth

Reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific, even in countries with relatively high per capita income, remains an unfinished agenda. Despite major progress, the region was home to 326 million people living in extreme poverty (or below the $1.90/day poverty line) in 2013. An additional 915 million people lived above $1.90/day but below $3.20/day. These people are constantly at risk of being pushed back into extreme poverty during economic downturns and other external shocks. In many developing countries, economic inequality has increased in the past decade. Without steps to address these disparities, the risks this trend poses—including social instability—will continue to grow.

Inclusive growth: ADB’s development agenda

ADB’s Strategy 2030 envisions an Asia and Pacific that is inclusive, where the region’s gains and opportunities are shared by all. 

A development strategy anchored in inclusive growth will have two mutually reinforcing strategic focuses. First, high, sustainable growth will create and expand economic opportunities. Second, broader access to these opportunities will ensure that members of society can participate in and benefit from growth. Without proper attention and planning, it will become increasingly difficult for growth to reach the impoverished who remain excluded by circumstance, poor governance, and other market-resistant obstacles. 

ADB’s support for achieving inclusive growth in developing countries includes investment in infrastructure to achieve high sustainable economic progress, connect the poor to markets, and increase their access to basic productive assets. ADB supports investment in education and essential public services, such as water and sanitation, which particularly benefit the poor and women. These investments provide the opportunity for all to improve their standards of living, thereby contributing to economic growth, poverty reduction, and the mitigation of extreme inequalities. 

The majority of the poor in the region, including most of the absolute poor, are women. Women comprise the largest group among those excluded from the benefits of the region’s economic expansion. ADB emphasizes gender equality and the empowerment of women as fundamental elements in achieving inclusive growth. It also works to increase investments aimed at providing women with better access to education and other economic resources, such as credit.