Social Development and Poverty

Asia and Pacific region post-2015 priorities, MDG8, and Global Partnerships

Asia Pacific post-2015 priorities, MDG8 and Global Partnerships
Any contemporary story on development in the Asia and Pacific region begins with reflection on the massive gains achieved in the fight against poverty. The incidence of people living on less than $1.25 a day fell from 54.5% in 1990 to 20.7% in 2010, with the number of extreme poor declining from 1.48 billion to 733 million. This precipitous decline in poverty incidence has been accompanied by tremendous gains in access to health and education. Read more.
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Governance

Southeast Asia’s energy subsidies are a tax on development

Southeast Asia’s energy subsidies are a tax on development
Policy reforms to resolve inefficiencies are a major yet underappreciated source of economic growth. One obvious example is the presence of large energy subsidies in the developing world, which are common among oil-rich countries such as Nigeria and Venezuela. Yet energy subsidies remain both large and seemingly firmly entrenched even in some Southeast Asian countries, where net energy exports are rapidly diminishing. Read more.
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Finance

To invest, or not to invest? That is the problem in Myanmar

To invest, or not to invest? That is the problem in Myanmar
Myanmar opened a new chapter in its history in November 2010 when it adopted its open-economy policy. Since then, an impressive array of reforms has been implemented. Excitement about this transition has been widely shared among political, economic, and investment communities around the world. However, Myanmar’s sustainable and inclusive growth depends on it maintaining this momentum during its transition—particularly inflows of foreign direct investment. Read more.
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Finance

Increased lending to SMEs aids financial stability

A key lesson of the 2008 global financial crisis (GFC) was the importance of containing systemic financial risk and maintaining financial stability. At the same time, developing economies are seeking to promote financial inclusion, such as greater access to financial services for low-income households and small firms, as part of their overall strategies for economic and financial development. This raises the question of whether financial stability and financial inclusion are, broadly speaking, substitutes or complements. In other words, does the move toward greater financial inclusion tend to increase or decrease financial stability? Read more.
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Finance

The NDB and AIIB initiatives sound a wake-up call for global finance

The NDB and AIIB initiatives sound a wake-up call for global finance
July 2014 marked the seventieth anniversary of the Bretton Woods conference, which laid the foundation for the post-WWII international financial system. The conference established the IMF to stabilize the world economy and the World Bank to finance post-war reconstruction. Both have evolved into pillars of present-day global finance. Read more.
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Finance

Globalizing the RMB? Beijing appoints three new clearing banks in London, Frankfurt, and Seoul

Globalizing the RMB? Beijing appoints three new clearing banks in London, Frankfurt, and Seoul
In the span of three weeks from late June to early July 2014, the central bank of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) appointed three new RMB clearing banks successively for London (China Construction Bank), Frankfurt (Bank of China), and Seoul (Bank of Communications). The three new clearing banks join the existing group of RMB clearing banks of the Industrial & Commercial Bank in Singapore: and the Bank of China for Hong Kong, China; Macao, China; and Taipei,China. Read more.
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Social Development and Poverty

Preparing for life after the MDGs

The establishment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by the United Nations in 2001 was a defining moment. It rallied a global effort in the fight against poverty, hunger, and disease, while promoting universal education, gender equality, and environmental sustainability. Read more.
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Environment

Time for an Asian environmental miracle?

The world is changing fast as Asia continues to surge ahead. In less than two generations, the Republic of Korea has gone from being one of the poorest countries in the world to one of the richest and a global leader in technology and manufacturing. The People’s Republic of China (PRC) is set to become the largest economy in the world in 2014. In Viet Nam, 15-year-olds are performing above OECD average in education. Under the new leadership of India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India will aim for the skies. Read more.
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Finance

Emerging Asia should brace for higher global interest rates

Emerging Asia should brace for higher global interest rates
The US Fed has been winding down its bond purchase program, widely known as “quantitative easing,” since December 2013. The program was introduced in the wake of the 2008 global financial crisis to fight the recession and foster a rapid economic recovery. With the improvement in the US economy, the Fed suggested at its policy meeting in March that the program may end this coming fall and it may start raising interest rates about six months from then. Read more.
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Social Development and Poverty

Eradicating absolute poverty by 2030 – are we aiming too low?

The post-2015 development agenda is leaning toward a goal of eradicating absolute poverty by 2030. The World Bank’s recently approved corporate strategy has the same goal. I believe, however, that this target is absolutely meaningless for the Asia and Pacific region. Read more.
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