ADB's Asia 2050 Vision, Roadmap

Manila Bulletin, August 14, 2011 | Go to article overview

ADB's Asia 2050 Vision, Roadmap

(Last of Two Parts)MANILA, Philippines - "While an Asian Century is certainly plausible, it is not pre-ordained." - ADB Pres. Haruhiko KurodaThe Asian Development Bank's massive study, "Asia 2050: Realizing the Asian Century," presents a strategic framework and related general strategies for our Asia-Pacific home region in the next 40 years. Most essential to any country's successful transition to the world of 2050 are three fundamental dimensions: National action, regional cooperation, and collective global effort.The national policy agenda retains its paramount importance, but Asian policy makers must look beyond their borders because:* Inter-generational issues have national, regional, and global aspects.* Asia has the most to gain (or lose) from the enhancement of these global virtues for future prosperity: An open trading system, a stable financial system, climate change mitigation, and peace/security/harmony. * Diversifying markets to reduce heavy reliance on Western countries requires Asian leaders to work closely together to remove legal and other barriers to the free movement of goods and capital.* Cross-country disparities lead to conflict, thus requiring coordinated/integrated action.Growth and inclusion; Financial transformationGrowth and inclusion need not be mutually exclusive - they can be mutually reinforcing. To sustain growth over the long-term, almost all of Asia needs strategies to reduce inequalities to maintain social cohesion.Asian countries must give much greater priority to inclusion and the elimination of inequalities - ethnic; rich/poor; rural/urban; educated/uneducated; etc. - throughout societies. Asia needs to improve policies on the distribution of benefits. Rural development, particularly agriculture, remains crucial in all low/middle-income economies. Asia must formulate its own financial model, avoiding overreliance on self-regulation by markets and excessive central government control of banks. It should be more open to institutional innovation and develop enabling arrangements to finance growing infrastructure needs through public-private partnerships. Managing massive urbanizationAs its urban population nearly doubles from 1.6 billion to 3 billion by 2050, Asia's cities will become centers of higher education, technological advance, and also sources of huge carbon emissions. Consequently, the quality and efficiency of urban centers increasingly determine Asia's long-term competitiveness.Urban inequity must be addressed - slums have to be eliminated because islands of poverty cannot coexist with affluent areas.Asia must adopt a new strategy to manage urbanization by promoting compact, energy-efficient, green, safe and livable cities, which will be more reliant on mass transit than on cars. Better management of cities will require governments to further decentralize responsibility to lower levels with more local accountability. Reduction in energy and natural resource useBased on current trends, Asia will surpass the OECD long before 2050 to become the largest energy consumer grouping most affected by, and most responsible for, risks related to energy security and climate change. Action is needed in many countries to eliminate energy subsidies and switch to renewables. The only way out is a combination of price increases and more stringent standards (for transport and buildings).The key policy implication for Asian countries is that future competitiveness and well-being depend heavily on efficient natural resource use and reduced consumption.The core requirement - where many Asian economies fall short - is high quality education that promotes creativity at all levels and systems that foster innovation and entrepreneurship. Governance and institutional developmentAsian countries must improve governance and transform their institutions.The recent deterioration in the quality and credibility of national political and economic institutions (illustrated by rising corruption) is a key concern.Throughout Asia, an expanding middle class will demand increased voice and participation, transparent allocation of resources, accountability for results, and enhanced personal space. …

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ADB's Asia 2050 Vision, Roadmap


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