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Infrastructure, Social Development and Poverty

On the unintended consequences of housing policies: A cautionary tale of three developed countries

On the unintended consequences of housing policies
Lack of affordable housing is a serious policy concern in many countries. In large prosperous cities such as London, New York, Beijing, or Tokyo, the affordability crisis is particularly acute. In these cities, households often live in excessively expensive and crammed spaces. Homeownership remains an unachievable dream for many. Not surprisingly, voters in these places pressure politicians into implementing policies that tackle the crisis. Read more.

Education, Social Development and Poverty

Skills and good jobs

Skills and good jobs
Education and skills are important policy levers for sustainable socioeconomic growth. With the right economic fundamentals, a highly educated population with the appropriate skills is a powerful tool for economies to move from the low-income to the middle-income status, or for those already in the middle-income category to avoid the middle-income trap and move to the high-income category. Skills shortages are a pressing issue as they limit the growth of output in the short term and limit the possibility for diversification and innovation in the long term. Read more.

Population, Social Development and Poverty, Urban

Housing policies for the PRC and Hong Kong, China: One nation, two systems

Housing policies for the PRC and Hong Kong, China One nation, two systems
It has been reiterated that the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and Hong Kong, China are under different economic systems. The PRC is basically socialism with more planned economy features, while Hong Kong, China is basically capitalism with more free market features. Read more.

Social Development and Poverty

Monetizing housing for retirement in Singapore

Monetizing housing for retirement in Singapore
In 2015, the value of housing assets owned by households in Singapore at the aggregate level was 55% of their net worth. Ninety percent of Singapore households owned their homes, meaning that almost all households had wealth saved in housing, and households’ housing wealth was 2.1 times that of the country’s gross domestic product. Read more.

Finance, Social Development and Poverty

Bringing financial services to the PRC’s poor will boost poverty reduction

A woman in Guangdong with a wagon load of harvested crops
The People’s Republic of China (PRC) has achieved remarkable economic growth, but there are a number of serious imbalances between coastal and inland regions, and between urban and rural areas. The government wants to help bridge this gap by developing inclusive finance tools. Read more.

Social Development and Poverty

Untold side of Asia’s poverty story and SDGs

Untold side of Asia’s poverty story and SDGs
On 25–27 September, less than 3 weeks from now, heads of state of 192 nations will sign up for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which will succeed the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as the new global development agenda. Notwithstanding such an important change, poverty eradication will remain the most important goal and Asia is expected to continue its dominant role in attaining this goal for the world. Read more.

Social Development and Poverty, Water

Extending the reach of flood insurance

Rice fields submerged by floods in Pakistan
Over the past few weeks, South Asian countries have been suffering torrential rains and devastating floods and landslides, exacerbated by Cyclone Komen, leaving over 100 dead and over a million displaced from Pakistan to Myanmar. The annual monsoon season in the region, normally a lifeline for farmers, this year resulted in floods that have caused severe damage to crops. Read more.

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.

Social Development and Poverty

Preparing for life after the MDGs

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.

Social Development and Poverty

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

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.