In the past 30 years, Malaysia has successfully curtailed high poverty rates and reduced income inequalities. Its goal is to attain high income status by 2020 while ensuring that growth is sustainable.
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The Government of Malaysia and the World Bank Group signed agreements today to establish a knowledge and research office in Kuala Lumpur to share its successful development experience with countries s... Show More +triving to make the same transition out of poverty and into shared prosperity.Second Minister of Finance, H.E. Dato’ Seri Ahmad Husni Mohamad Hanadzlah and Governor Bank Negara Malaysia, Dr. Zeti Akhtar Aziz, signed on behalf of Malaysia, and World Bank Vice President for East Asia Axel van Trotsenburg signed on behalf of the World Bank.The new World Bank Group Office will combine both operational expertise and research. It will facilitate the sharing of Malaysia’s successful development experiences with countries around the world. It will also allow Malaysia to further leverage global knowledge and expertise from the World Bank towards its transformation into a developed, high-income economy. “Our partnership with Malaysia will boost the World Bank’s ability to remain a source for innovative solutions to help developing countries achieve what Malaysia already has,” said van Trotsenburg during the Putrajaya signing ceremony. “Such knowledge sharing will be a big gain for everyone, and particularly fitting of a nation transitioning to a high-income, developed economy.”Malaysia’s impressive growth performance since Independence is matched by an even more impressive achievement in reducing poverty. In the past 40 years, absolute poverty declined from nearly half of Malaysia’s population to one percent of households today. Poverty reduction was driven by growth, which created jobs for people and resources for government, and by a careful focus on human capital development through investments in education and health.H.E. Dato’ Seri Ahmad Husni Mohamad Hanadzlah noted that “As a country that has made tremendous strides to eradicate poverty and increase the welfare of the bottom 40 percent of our population, Malaysia is keen to collaborate with the World Bank Group to bring this experience to many more countries.”The World Bank Group Office in Malaysia will be housed in Sasana Kijang, Bank Negara Malaysia’s centre of excellence in knowledge and learning in central banking and financial services, located in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Show Less -
According to the report titled East Asia’s Changing Urban Landscape: Measuring a Decade of Spatial Growth, Malaysia is among the more urbanized countries of East Asia, and its urban population continu... Show More +es to increase rapidly. However, urban areas in the country are among the least dense in East Asia. The Kuala Lumpur urban area is one of the largest in the region as measured by area, but not as measured by population.Key findingsMalaysia has the fourth-largest amount of built-up land in East Asia as of 2010. Its urban land grew from about 3,900 square kilometers to 4,600 between 2000 and 2010, an average annual growth rate of 1.5%, which was lower than the 2.4% average for the region.Its urban population increased during this period from 10.2 million (43% of the total population) to 15 million (53%), making it among the more urbanized countries and economies in the region in demographic terms, after Japan, the Republic of Korea, and Singapore (and Taiwan, China).The rate of urban population growth, 4.0% a year, on average, was among the fastest in the region, surpassed only by Lao PDR, Cambodia (both of which have much smaller urban populations), and Vietnam.Urban areas were, on average, among the least dense in East Asia, with an overall urban population density of 3,300 people per square kilometer in 2010, up from 2,600 in 2000, and lower than the regional average of almost 5,800 people per square kilometer.Malaysia has 19 urban areas with more than 100,000 people: one urban area of more than 5 million people (Kuala Lumpur), two between 1 million and 5 million people (George Town and Johor Bahru), five of 500,000 to 1 million people, and 11 urban areas of between 100,000 and 500,000 people.As of 2010, the Kuala Lumpur urban area was the eighth largest in the region, larger than some megacity urban areas like Jakarta, Manila, and Seoul despite its smaller population.Despite being the eighth-largest urban area in size, because of its low density, the Kuala Lumpur urban area was only the 22nd largest in population. The overall urban area grew from about 4 million inhabitants in 2000 to 5.8 million in 2010, a relatively high average annual growth rate of 3.8%.Johor Bahru saw rapid growth during this period, taking advantage of its location immediately across a narrow strait from Singapore. Growing from 270 square kilometers to 420 between 2000 and 2010 (4.4% a year), it surpassed George Town and Ipoh to become the second-largest urban area in the country. Show Less -
SINGAPORE, January 26, 2015 — Almost 200 million people moved to urban areas in East Asia from 2000-2010 – a figure that would be the world’s sixth-largest population for any single country, acco... Show More +rding to new data released today by the World Bank.For the first time, the data compares urban areas and their populations in a consistent manner across East Asia, providing governments and local leaders with a better understanding of the shape and scale of the growth so they can get urbanization right – creating opportunities for all.“Rapid urbanization is a significant challenge for East Asia, but we cannot manage what we cannot measure,” said Axel van Trotsenburg, the World Bank East Asia and Pacific Regional Vice President. “We’re releasing this data so urban leaders can get a better picture and take action to ensure that urban growth benefits the increasing number of people moving to cities, especially the poor.”Analyzed in a new report titled “East Asia’s Changing Urban Landscape: Measuring a Decade of Spatial Growth,” the data indicates that overall, urban areas in East Asia expanded at an average of 2.4 percent per year during the decade studied, with urban land reaching 134,800 square kilometers in 2010.Urban populations grew even faster at an annual average rate of 3.0 percent, increasing to 778 million in 2010 – the largest of any region in the world. Other sources indicate that it took more than 50 years for the same number to become urbanized in Europe.The report finds a direct link between urbanization and income growth, showing how economic output per capita increased throughout the region as the percentage of people living in urban areas went up.The report says that there are 869 urban areas with more than 100,000 people in the East Asia region. They include eight megacities of more than 10 million people: the Pearl River Delta, Shanghai and Beijing in China; Tokyo and Osaka in Japan; and Jakarta, Seoul and Manila. China’s Pearl River Delta has overtaken Tokyo to become the largest urban area in the world in both size and population.At the same time, there was significant growth in smaller urban areas. In fact, the 572 smallest urban areas – with populations of 100,000 to 500,000 – as well as the 106 medium-sized urban areas with populations of 1 million to 5 million, have more total land area than the eight megacities.A notable feature of this expansion is that urban areas are also getting denser on average, which if well managed, can be good for the environment and can lead to more efficient provision of services to people. However, this growth poses a significant challenge due to metropolitan fragmentation, with almost 350 urban areas spilling over local administrative boundaries. In some cases, multiple cities are merging into a single entity while they continue to be administered separately.As urbanization transforms the face of East Asia, governments and local leaders trying to understand and respond have been hampered by a lack of internationally comparable data because countries use differing definitions of urban areas and populations.The new data set was created to address this challenge by using satellite imagery and techniques for modeling population distribution, mapping all human settlements to achieve a common understanding of urbanization trends. This approach can systematically establish where urbanization is occurring, how fast it is happening, and how population growth relates to increases in urban land area.“Once cities are built, their urban form and land-use patterns are locked in for generations,” said Marisela Montoliu Munoz, Director of the World Bank Group Social, Urban, Rural and Resilience Global Practice. “Improving the quality of data to understand trends in urban expansion is important, so that policy makers can make better-informed decisions to support sustainable communities in a rapidly changing environment, with access to services, jobs and housing.”Despite such significant and rapid growth, the data reveals that less than one percent of the total area in East Asia is urbanized, and only 36 percent of the total population is urban – suggesting that the region’s urban expansion has only just begun. While urbanization in the region is largely driven by market forces, policy makers at the national and municipal levels have an important role to play in ensuring that it is sustainable and inclusive:Prepare for future spatial expansion by facilitating access to land so expansion can occur efficiently, using mechanisms such as guided land development, land pooling and readjustment, land sharing and transfer of development rights.Ensure economically efficient urbanization by addressing the entire system of cities through national urbanization strategies, supporting public investments in a range of large, small and medium-sized cities to foster diverse economic activity.Make urbanization inclusive by planning spatial growth to help reduce inequality in access to economic opportunities and address the vulnerabilities of recent migrants.Foster sustainable urbanization by ensuring high-density urban areas are well located, planned and coordinated to produce a walkable, livable environment.Overcome metropolitan fragmentation by coordinating urban services across municipal boundaries, using regional government authorities and other mechanisms.“Getting urban form, density, and administrative coordination right will be essential to help end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity,” said Abhas Jha, the Practice Manager for the World Bank Group Social, Urban, Rural and Resilience Global Practice.------------------------------EAST ASIA URBAN EXPANSION IN NUMBERS (2000-2010)200 million: East Asia’s newly ur urban population, equivalent to the world’s 6th largest country42 million: Total population of Pearl River Delta, world’s largest urban area – more than Argentina, Australia, Canada and Malaysia2.4 % : Average urban land growth per year1% : Total area of urban land in 201036% : Total urban population in 2010, up from 29% in 2000869: Total urban areas with more than 100,000 people--------This study was made possible through the generous support of Australian Aid.To read the full report, visit: http://www.worldbank.org/eap/measuringurbanexpansionTo view maps and download data, visit: puma.worldbank.org----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Urban Expansion Data Analysis CompetitionTo further improve our understanding of urban expansion, the World Bank is calling for submissions of (1) data visualization and (2) proposals for a policy research paper, using the new data set introduced in the report “East Asia’s Changing Urban Landscape: Measuring a Decade of Spatial Growth.” For more information, visit: http://www.worldbank.org/eap/measuringurbanexpansion Show Less -
January 26, 2015Key FindingsAlmost 200 million people moved to urban areas in East Asia from 2000-2010, a figure that would be the world’s sixth-largest population for any single country.Most of East ... Show More +Asia’s population is still non-urban, meaning the region will likely face decades of further urbanization.The Pearl River Delta in China – which includes the cities of Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Foshan and Dongguan – has overtaken Tokyo as the world’s largest urban area in both size and population, with more inhabitants than countries such as Argentina, Australia or Canada.China’s government-implemented urbanization dominates East Asia with 600 of the region’s 869 urban areas located in the country, which also has more than two-thirds of East Asia’s total urban land.East Asia’s urban areas included eight “megacities” with populations over 10 million, 123 large cities with one to 10 million people, and 738 medium and small cities with 100,000 to one million people.The report establishes a direct link between urbanization and income growth, showing how economic output per capita increased throughout the region as the percentage of people living in urban areas went up.Expanding urban areas often cross administrative or political boundaries such as municipal borders, which fragments government management and revenue sources.The rate at which urban areas expanded physically varied widely between countries. Mostly rural countries had the highest spatial expansion rates, with Lao PDR at 7.3 percent and Cambodia at 4.3 percent, while industrialized Japan had the lowest rate of increase at 0.4 percent despite containing the second-largest amount of urban land behind China.Moving ForwardGetting urbanization right will be essential in ensuring that it contributes to the World Bank’s twin goals of ending extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity.With most of East Asia’s people living in non-urban areas, rapid urbanization is likely to continue for decades, requiring proactive policies to provide land, housing, and services for the new urban residentsThe report emphasizes the important role of policy makers at the national and municipal levels in ensuring that urbanization proceeds in an economically efficient, sustainable and inclusive manner so that poor people can benefit.Urban planning needs to match physical expansion with access to jobs, affordable housing and shopping, public transportation, and health and education services to ensure equal opportunity for disadvantaged communities.Environmental impacts and risks are a major concern. The report notes that urban expansion brings increased consumption of fossil fuels that contribute to climate change, while a lack of planning can result in poor migrants settling on land prone to natural disasters such as flooding and earthquakes.Fragmentation requires a new model of metropolitan governance, and strategies can include in some cases consolidation of authority. In other cases, strengthening local municipalities may be needed to offset too much central authority as part of a tradeoff. Resolving the fragmented management will involve tackling the logistical and political complexities of forging multi-jurisdictional coalitions among participants that may have conflicting priorities.To encourage further research on urbanization, the World Bank is announcing a two-track competition based on this report. One offers a $1,500 prize for the best visualization of the data, while the other seeks proposals for papers further analyzing the information, with winners invited to World Bank headquarters to present their findings. Show Less -
After four years hovering at about $100 per barrel, the price of oil has suddenly collapsed -- and is expected stay at $70 or less in 2015. Both more supply and less demand are behind the change: larg... Show More +e producers in the Arabian Peninsula keep pumping apace, the US is "fracking" away at its shale reserves, and China's economic growth is slowing down -- all at the same time. This has sent economists rushing to assess what cheap oil means for the global economy. Depending on the model they use and the assumptions they make, they estimate a net stimulus that ranges from small to very small. But, behind the word "net," lies a wide spectrum of gains, pains, people, and policies.Simulations by the World Bank's Global Practice for Macroeconomic and Fiscal Management suggest that, everything else equal, the global economy will grow a tenth of 1 percent faster if oil prices in 2015 stay a third below their average level of 2014. As a group, rich countries will benefit more than developing ones -- think of less expensive energy helping with Europe's recovery. Oil exporters -- like Nigeria, Russia, and Venezuela -- stand to lose a great deal, while oil importers -- like China, India, and Japan -- will gain a bit. And growth in oil-rich regions like the Middle East, Central Asia, and West Africa may decline rather sharply -- by two or more percentage points.So far, so predictable. What makes the World Bank team's simulation interesting is that even among oil exporters the impact will vary a lot. The reason is that they are not all equally prepared to cope with the fall in oil prices -- not all of them used well the "good times" of $100-plus a barrel. This is a key point: The effect of cheaper oil on any one country -- and on its people -- depends not just on whether it sells petroleum or not but, if it does, on whether it has created the external and fiscal "buffers" to cushion a plunge in prices. The typical buffers are little or no foreign debt, large reserves of foreign currency, balanced fiscal budgets, sovereign wealth funds, and flexible public expenditures -- while not perfect, Colombia, Malaysia, and Norway are examples of that.Why are those macroeconomic buffers so important? Because they help protect the poor. Without buffers, an abrupt loss of export earnings means slower or negative growth, higher inflation, and less government revenue. That is, fewer jobs, pricier food, and less social assistance. In other words, for unprepared oil-exporting countries, cheaper oil means more poverty. At present, there are some 700 million people in such countries -- 80 million of whom already live on $1.25 a day or less.Of course, unlike simulations, in the real world "everything else" does not stay equal. Low prices discourage new investments in exploration, especially for shale oil, something that may over time raise prices back up -- by some projections, oil prices could recover their 2014 level as early as 2019. More to the point, politicians and policy-makers can and do react to shocks. What should they do in this case, especially if they happen to lead an oil-exporting country and care about poverty?Six areas for government action stand out. First, secure your financing. Calculate your cash needs for the next couple of years as if all your expenditures were untouchable, and sign today the loans you know you will need tomorrow. [NB: With interest rates currently at rock-bottom levels, this is smart debt management anyway.] Second, prioritize your public investment. Decide now which projects you will slow down, postpone, or drop, if you were to run out of money. Third, audit your social safety nets. You may be called upon to fund temporary employment programs, feed children in schools, and pay for direct cash transfers. If you don't have the necessary logistics in place -- including an updated register of who is poor and how to reach them -- you'd better start working on it.Fourth, stress-test your banking system. What would happen to your banks if, all of a sudden, foreign currency became scarce? Are their loans concentrated on a few construction or trading companies that could go belly up as the oil boom comes to an end? Fifth, identify who will suffer when crisis strikes. Who are the winners and losers? Will the impact be felt in a single, remote rural area where your oil is extracted? Will a devaluation of the national currency make imported food unaffordable for the urban poor? Will the affected belong to a specific racial, religious, or regional group? Whose consumption will get more expensive? And whose assets will lose most value? This kind of "political economy analysis" is invaluable because it highlights the road-blocks in your decision-making.Finally, don't waste the shock. A major change in your external environment can help you tackle long-neglected internal reforms. This is a great time, for example, to remove subsidies to fossil fuel or to make life easier for industries that can export something other than oil. It is also high time to change the behaviors that make your economy buffer-less: fiscal budgets that are built on over-optimistic price projections, public spending that is borderline extravagant, pledges of oil revenue to over-borrow, and political reluctance to create rainy-day funds. Whether your country sells or buys oil, whether it is rich or poor, a slump in international oil prices can be turned into a fine development opportunity.Follow Marcelo Giugale on Twitter: www.twitter.com/Marcelo_WB Show Less -