Singapore : The president of the Asian Development Bank warned Monday that the global economic downturn might lead to a significant increase of poverty in Asia.
“Instead of breaking out from poverty, we expect that more than 60 million people in developing Asia… will remain below the $1.25 a day absolute poverty line in 2009, as a result of the global recession,” Haruhiko Kuroda said in Singapore.
“The slowdown is impacting people’s lives, especially the poor,” he added.
The bank expects economic growth in developing Asia to fall 3 percentage points to an estimated 3.4 percent this year, the region’s slowest growth since the 1997/98 financial crisis.
Kuroda urged Asian economies, which are known for their growth model built on exports, to see the worldwide recession as an opportunity.
“For emerging Asia, rebalancing the sources of growth is not an option, but a necessity,” he said.
“The region should promote balanced growth based on more domestic and regional demand without turning its back on globalisation,” the bank president said.
Therefore, more regional cooperation and communication was needed, he added.
“Harmonised and coordinated regional responses are extremely important, particularly at times of global financial turmoil,” he said.
The region should have “a stronger voice in favour of a new global financial architecture”.
The 10 member states of the Association of South-East Asian Nations plus Japan, South Korea and China “should be able to play an increasingly important role in the global community working its way through the crisis”, Kuroda said.
Kuroda spoke at a conference organised by the Singapore-based Institute of Southeast Asian Studies.