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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        4  May 2011

Reducing corruption key to Asia's growth

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Reducing corruption and improving government accountability are the greatest challenges to making Asia the world's wealthiest region by 2050, says a draft report for the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

The study, to be released on Wednesday discussed at the ADB's annual meeting in Vietnam, says Asia is undergoing a historic transformation. “If it continues to grow on its recent trajectory, it could, by 2050, account for more than half of global gross domestic product (GDP), trade and investment, and enjoy widespread affluence,” the report says.

Asia's proportion of global GDP, rising from 27 percent last year, would match its share of global population and a per capita income of US$38,600 (S$47,470) would leave the region as well off as Europe is today, it says.

Countries from the Pacific Ocean to Central Asia face many challenges if they are to achieve this, but underlying them all is a need for stronger institutions of governance, says the report aimed at regional policymakers and business leaders.

'The recent deterioration in the quality and credibility of national political and economic institutions (illustrated by rising corruption) is a serious concern", says the bank. Data from the World Bank Institute showed a 'clear retreat in voice, accountability and political stability' in the region between 2008 and 2009.

While some places in Asia, notably Singapore and Hong Kong, are rated as among the world's least corrupt, many others are among the worst. 'Asia must modernise governance and retool its institutions with an emphasis on transparency, accountability and enforceability,' the ADB report says.

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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.

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