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Inclusive growth, inequality are key concerns in emerging Asia

By Prime Sarmiento (Xinhua)

15:34, May 02, 2012

MANILA, May 2 (Xinhua) -- The Asian Development Bank opens this year's annual meeting in the Philippine capital with a call to promote more inclusive growth in emerging Asian economies.

ADB President Haruhiko Kuroda said Wednesday that despite the region's stellar economic rise - the developing Asian economies are projected to expand 6.9 percent this year - millions of Asians continue to subsist on less than 1.25 U.S. dollars a day.

"The region still faces significant long-term challenges. High among these is the issue of rising inequality," Kuroda said in a briefing held on the sidelines of the four-day 45th Annual Meeting of Board of Governors.

He highlighted the parallels between relatively higher growth among member countries in Asia-Pacific on one hand and the rising incidence of poverty and income inequality in the region on the other.

The region is home to some of the world's fastest growing economies and rising prosperity has managed to reduce huge poverty levels.

According to the UN Millennium Development Goals Report for 2011, East Asia, particularly China, have made the sharpest reduction in poverty incidence thanks mainly to its rapid economic growth. In China, the poverty rate is expected to fall to under 5 percent by 2015.

Another rising Asian economy, India, has also slashed its poverty rate. India's poverty rates are projected to fall from 51 percent in 1990 to about 22 percent in 2015.

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