Asia can lead world to more balanced growth

Updated: 2011-05-05 15:46


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HANOI - Asia can lead the world to more balanced, equitable, and sustainable growth if it confronts its medium- and long-term challenges "with purpose and passion," said Haruhiko Kuroda, president of the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

Kuroda made the statement at the opening session of the 44th ADB Annual Meeting Board of Governors in Vietnam's capital city Hanoi Thursday.

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The region bounced back quickly from the global economic downturn, with aggregate Gross Domestic Product (GDP) expanding by 9 percent in 2010, Kuroda said.

"It is not just the quantity of growth that matters, but also the quality. Inclusive growth is essential growth that provides more jobs and increases the quality of life for all our people. The region cannot prosper, nor achieve its aspirations, if the benefits of growth are not widely shared," Kuroda said.

Although inflation across the region has been generally low at 4.4 percent last year, some economies are showing signs of overheating as they return to a path of rapid growth. Rising oil and food prices are adding to this pressure. Policy makers need to consider precautionary measures to contain inflation, not least because it is the poorest citizens who will bear the brunt of its impact, he said.

During the meeting, Kuroda proposed five key issues to unlock the region's potential including strong leadership and commitment to good governance, filling infrastructure investment requirements exceeding $750 billion annually to 2020, sound financial systems to channel regional savings into Asia's development needs, wider sharing of development knowledge within and beyond the region, and increased regional cooperation and integration.

ADB also forecasts growth for developing Asia at a robust 7.8 percent this year and 7.7 percent in 2012.

"With wisdom and strong leadership, let us steer the region towards more inclusive, sustainable and balanced growth. As Asia continues its rise on the global stage, let us commit today to ensure that Asia's ongoing development benefits all of its people and the world as a whole," Kuroda said.


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