ADB's 'Asia 2050' - Vision, Roadmap

Manila Bulletin, August 7, 2011 | Go to article overview

ADB's 'Asia 2050' - Vision, Roadmap


(First of Two Parts)

"By 2050, 31 of 49 Asia-Pacific countries remain in the laggard Third World - from Afghanistan... the Philippines... Timor-Leste... Vanuatu, etc." - ADB (August, 2011)

MANILA, Philippines - LAST 01 August, FVR addressed the Emerging Markets Forum Seminar-Workshop in Tokyo to launch ADB's "Asia 2050: Realizing the Asian Century." This important event was co-hosted by the Japan Bank for International Cooperation with the support of the Development Bank of Latin America (CAF) and SAGE Publications.

Undertaken by a group of global economists who conducted extensive consultations/dialogues, and obtained feedback from policymakers, think-tanks, and academia, ADB's "Asia 2050" contains bad news; indeed, pointed wake-up calls by experts; and shocking eye-openers for the Philippines.

In the context of Asia leading the world out of recession and the shift of the global economy's center of gravity toward our Asia-Pacific region, the ADB study crafted plausible scenarios - given existing indicators and trends - where our countries could be in the next three to four decades, and proposed essential national action plans.

It identified drivers of change and policy choices to be made, and suggested innovations to sustain Asia's rise between now and 2050.

Likely risks; Future groupings

In our previous column, we outlined ADB's predictions about six or more recurring socio-economic, environmental and political risks over the next 30-40 years.

In Latin America and Africa, new economic powers are also rising; but, since the most heavily populated and most economically weighty of new stakeholders are Asian - principally China, Japan, India, South Korea, and ASEAN-10 - the center of global economic gravity is moving away from the Atlantic toward the Pacific.

Three future groupings of 49 Asian economies have emerged: first, the High-Income/Developed; second, the Fast-Growing/Converging; and last, Slow/Aspiring (where the Philippines still remains lumped with small Pacific nations, having been overtaken by Cambodia and Vietnam which are expected to jump to the second group).

The EMF was organized in 2005 by the Washington-based Centennial Group to fill the need for an international platform to bring together top government and corporate leaders for high-level dialogues focused on key socio-economic, environmental, and political issues. Thru comprehensive studies, it continues to provide actionable policy proposals to address dysfunctions.

The incumbent EMF co-chairs are: Michel Camdessus, former IMF Managing Director; Haruhiko Kuroda, ADB President; Enrique Garcia, CAF President/CEO; and FVR. Among the 60 "eminents" who critiqued the ADB "Asia 2050" study were our own NEDA Secretary Cayetano Paderanga and "Asian Finance Minister-of-1996" former DOF Secretary Bobby de Ocampo.

Realizing the Asian century

ADB's "Asia 2050: Realizing the Asian Century" assesses the outcomes of economies in Asia-Pacific by 2050 - on the basis of current national competitiveness, governance, institutional and leadership conditions, and future trends. The book further aims to develop a long-term vision and strategy for the Asian region as a whole - as opposed to parochial approaches by most nations that deliver only short-to-medium-term perspectives.

Sadly, given recent indicators based on above-cited parameters, ADB's "Asia 2050" forecast the Philippines to be mired in the backwaters of "low-modest growth" economies together with Bangladesh, Laos, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, and Tonga - unless real transformation takes place in the medium-term up to 2015 (which is when UN's Millennium Development Goals are to be attained).

Consequently, in its march towards modernization, the region must tackle daunting policy, institutional, and governance challenges. It is in these fundamental areas where the ability of countries to achieve the promise of the Asia Century is being measured. …

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