Business Forum on Global Prosperity

Launch of the Asian Development Bank Annual Report: Key Indicators for Asia and the Pacific 2014

Refer to the end of this article for video links of this event.

The Institute of Global Finance (IGF), in collaboration with the Asian Development Bank (ADB), held a Business Forum on Global Prosperity on August 25, 2014 at UNSW. Dr Guanghua Wan, a Principal Economist at the ADB, was invited to give a keynote address. He presented the ADB’s 2014 report: Key Indicators for Asia and the Pacific 2014. This is the ADB's flagship annual statistical data book which presents economic, financial, social, environmental, and Millennium Development Goals (MDG) indicators for regional members of the ADB.

Dr Wan’s presentation focussed on a special chapter of Key Indicators for Asia and the Pacific 2014 entitled "Poverty in Asia: A Deeper Look”. The research showed that most current discussions about poverty fail to consider significant challenges to the eradication of poverty arising from food insecurity, rising inequality and rising vulnerability in Asia. The research challenged the use of a simple poverty line metric to measure progress in combating poverty. Instead it proposed a more nuanced measure of poverty incorporating food security and vulnerability factors. When these factors are accounted for, it is predicted that poverty will remain prevalent beyond 2030 despite fast economic growth in Asia and the Pacific.

Previously it was believed this rapid economic growth would reduce poverty, based on the poverty line, from 20.7% in 2010 to 1.4% by 2030 (a poverty rate below 3% is interpreted as poverty having been eradicated). However, when these factors were incorporated, this increased Asia’s estimated extreme poverty rate for 2010 by 28.8% to 49.5%. The research also found that if recent economic growth trends continue, the overall poverty rate would be reduced to only 17.1% in 2030.

Dr Guanghua Wan and Dr Andrea Iffland, Regional Director of the ADB's Pacific Liaison and Coordination Office, both accepted individual interviews conducted by the IGF. During the interview, Dr Wan introduced the Key Indicator Report and shared his views regarding the contribution of Asia to the global economy and the proper benchmarks of poverty. Dr Iffland talked about the activities of the ADB in the Asia-Pacific region, their priority of projects, how the banking/finance sector has evolved post-GFC and the change of the status of women in the Pacific.

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