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Asean Affairs    25  August  2011

Some Asians escape poverty

By  David Swartzemtruber

AseanAffairs     25  August 2011

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More than 245 million Asians were lifted out of extreme poverty in the last five years despite the global economic crisis, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) said, citing the region's brisk economic growth.

China, the world's most populous nation, outperformed other Asian countries, with an estimated 141.13 million people leaving the ranks of the extreme poor, defined as those who earned less than US$1.25 a day.

"The results indicate that even during the global economic crisis, Asia managed to further reduce the number of poor," said the report, which was released this week by the Manila-based lender.

"The continued poverty reduction during the crisis and recovery periods can be attributed to robust economic growth in the region."

A total of 149.9 million Asians escaped extreme poverty between 2005 and 2008, and a further 95.4 million from 2008 through 2010, the bank said.

But some low-income countries such as Indonesia, Pakistan and Nepal fared badly, with the number of poor people growing last year compared with 2005.

Others like the Philippines made no dent on poverty during this period.

"This may be attributed to population growth outstripping poverty reduction due to sluggish gross domestic product growth and/or worsening inequality," the study said.

As of last year, the extreme poor were 18.7 percent of the population of developing Asian countries, down from 27.09 percent in 2005, the bank said.

Despite the dramatic progress, ADB said the region was still home to the largest number of the world's poor.

Continued economic growth in the region could the 18.7 percent of extreme poor halved in this decade.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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