Asia Must Take Bold Action to Realize Full Potential – Asia 2050 Book
Date2 Aug 2011
TOKYO, JAPAN – Asia’s leaders must take bold, innovative action to sustain rapid growth and tackle growing inequalities, as well as address environmental challenges and the rising tide of urbanization if the region is to reach its full potential by the middle of this century, says a new book commissioned by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
Asia 2050 – Realizing the Asian Century challenges the perception that Asia’s rapid rise is inevitable. It urges leaders from the region, which is home to over half of the world’s population, to confront a number of longer-term challenges if Asians are to take their place among the ranks of the affluent in Europe and North America. The study contends that Asia’s continued rise is plausible, but by no means pre-ordained.
The book warns that fast-growing economies like the People’s Republic of China, India, Viet Nam, and Indonesia could fall victim to the “middle-income trap”.
“Prosperity is earned. Asia has indeed done well over the past 40 years. Let us work together to ensure we stay on the path over the next 40 years,” said ADB President Haruhiko Kuroda in launching the book at a seminar in Tokyo organized by the Emerging Market Forum and hosted by the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC).
Mr. Kuroda stressed that regional cooperation and integration are central to Asian prosperity. Greater cooperation can help protect hard-won economic gains from external shocks and strengthen its voice in an ever evolving global system.
Improving governance and strengthening institutional architecture, which are Achilles heels for development, must also be high on the policy agenda. An expanding middle class, the communications revolution, and changing demographics will exert pressure on governments to demonstrate greater transparency, predictability, accountability, and enforceability in their decision-making. In turn, this will strengthen the policy and governance foundations of Asia’s economic growth.
As Asia’s affluence rises, competition for the world’s finite natural resources will become increasingly intense.
“How we handle vital resources such as water and food will determine whether we stay on the path of economic growth and development, or stumble into conflicts of scarcity,” said Mr. Kuroda. “Asia must take radical steps now toward investing in innovation and clean technology. This will ensure that our quest for prosperity for all does not end in environmental gridlock.”
Asia’s re-emergence as an economic powerhouse will bring with it new responsibilities, particularly in helping to manage the global commons, such as free trade, climate change mitigation, and financial stability.
“As an emerging leader, Asia must lead by example, by being a responsible global citizen,” Mr. Kuroda concluded.