Agriculture and natural resources, Capacity development, Environment, Governance and public sector management, Health, Water

Do the socioeconomic spillovers from sewage treatment plants in developing countries justify heavy investment in them?

Do the socioeconomic spillovers from sewage treatment plants in developing countries justify heavy investment in them
Decent sanitation for all is crucial for rapidly urbanizing developing countries, such as India. As large volumes of wastewater in developing countries remain untreated, the investments in treatment facilities have not kept pace with the steady increases in population and urbanization and the resulting increases in wastewater volumes.

Capacity development, Education, Information and Communications Technology, Social development and protection

T20 and realizing education for all in the Digital Age

T20 and realizing education for all in the Digital Age
Education is a key driver for sustainable development (UNESCO 2018). However, the goal of realizing education for all in the Digital Age faces two major challenges. First, many countries and economies are still not ensuring quality education for all. Millions of children and youth still lack the necessary tools to realize their potential amid economic, political, and social strife. Second, with the emergence of the fourth Industrial Revolution and the growing use of automation, big data, and artificial intelligence, human labor is being substituted increasingly by machines or algorithms.

Economics, Industry and trade, Information and Communications Technology

The spillover effects of digital platforms

The spillover effects of digital platforms
“Over-the-top” (OTT) service providers are referred to as so because they allegedly ride exclusively on top of the infrastructure laid by telecommunications service providers. Hidden behind the term OTT is the notion that such providers do not invest in the network infrastructure yet provide the same services as telecommunications service providers. While this may seem intuitive to some through a cursory examination of the marketplace, what such assertions fail to consider are the numerous “edge-of-the-network” investments by OTT service providers as well as the massive efficiency, flexibility, and propensity-to-scale inherent in OTT business models.

Economics, Governance and public sector management, Regional cooperation and integration

Tackling the challenge of growing inequality in Asia

Tackling the challenge of growing inequality in Asia
Income inequality is one of the most profound social, economic, and political challenges of our time. A survey conducted by Pew Research Center (2014) found that more than 60% of worldwide respondents regard the gap between the rich and the poor as a major concern. Piketty (2014) draws the unequivocal conclusion that growing inequality between the rich and the poor—between the owners of capital and the rest of society—is the normal state of affairs under capitalism, and that periods of decreasing inequality, such as during a post-war boom, are the exception, not the rule.

Economics, Finance sector development, Information and Communications Technology

Fintech adaptation can bridge Asia’s SME financing divide

Digital innovation can improve financial access for SMEs
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) play a vital role as a driving force in economies around the world, especially in Asia. SMEs in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region are estimated to comprise more than 98% of the total number of enterprises, and they contribute to around 40% of gross domestic product.

Economics, Regional cooperation and integration

Greater partnerships for the effective management of labor migration in Asia

Greater partnerships for the effective management of labor migration in Asia
The pace and size of labor migration have been on the rise in past decades, largely due to the different stages of economic development across Asia. Labor migration flows from Asia peaked in 2015 and dropped in the following 2 years, falling to 5.2 million in 2017, the lowest level since 2011.

Economics, Transport

A step forward in attracting private sector financing for infrastructure projects

A step forward in attracting private sector financing for infrastructure projects
Such infrastructure projects would not be effective without proper operation and maintenance, and economic activities would be unsustainable without efficient infrastructure. The transport sector is an important component of any economy, and it is a crucial input for development. This is especially so in a globalized economy, where economic opportunities are increasingly related to the efficient mobility of people, goods, and information.

Economics, Poverty

The impact of trade opening on developing Asia: Evidence and policy implications

The impact of trade opening on developing Asia: Evidence and policy implications
Even though in aggregate, trade leads to economic gains, it almost always creates winners and losers. To design appropriate social protection policies, it is important to know the identities of these winners and losers. These policies need to be in place for equity reasons as well as to build and sustain support for free trade.

Transport

High-Speed Rail: Necessary but not sufficient for socioeconomic development

High-Speed Rail: Necessary but not sufficient for socioeconomic development
Since its inception in Japan in 1964, high-speed rail (HSR), and its impact on the economy, has received attention from policymakers worldwide. Early HSR development was more of a race to go faster, and the early success led policymakers around the world to believe in the power of HSR for catalyzing growth.

Industry and trade

Services policies and manufacturing exports

Services policies and manufacturing exports
Services and manufacturing are closely intertwined. Manufacturers use services as inputs into their production process. It is difficult to imagine a modern global value chain working without efficient transport services, financial services, logistics, and business services.