East Asia and Pacific accounts for nearly two-fifths of global economic growth, making it a key driver of growth in the world economy. The region is expected to grow 6.5% in 2016, moderating slightly from 6.8% last year.
Growth in the developing economies of EAP is expected to ease from 6.5% in 2015 to 6.3% over 2016–17. This mainly reflects a moderate slowdown in China. Aggregate growth in the Association of Southeast Asian Nation (ASEAN) economies will be roughly stable at 4.3% in 2015, rising to 4.9% by 2017, with increasing support from global growth and export demand, particularly from high-income economies.
Extreme poverty has declined faster in EAP than in any other region, falling from 80% in 1981 to 4% in 2015. Even with this remarkable progress, however, some 90 million people still live in extreme poverty—and another 300 million are vulnerable to falling back into poverty as a result of climate change, natural disasters, disease, and economic shocks. Economic inequality is high in many countries, even though the incomes of the bottom 40% of the population in most countries have been rising more rapidly than those of the rest of the population. Income inequality partly reflects the inequality of opportunity, including in access to health services and education.
EAP is the epicenter of the double burden of stunting and obesity — both forms of malnutrition. Indonesia, Myanmar, the Philippines, and Vietnam are among a group of 34 countries accounting for 90% of the global burden of stunting. China and Indonesia are among the 10 countries that account for more than 50% of the global burden of obesity.
Stunting significantly reduces the physical and mental capabilities of children, imposing enormous human and economic costs. In Indonesia, for example, where 37% of children are stunted, economic losses associated with stunting are estimated at 2-3% of GDP.
The region includes 13 of the 30 countries that are most vulnerable to climate change. It also bears the brunt of 70% of the world’s natural disasters, which have affected more than 1.6 billion people in the region since 2000. The Pacific Island countries, where the rising sea level is threatening coastal areas and atoll islands, have been hit hard.
EAP is also the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, accounting for one-third of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions and 60% of its coal consumption. The region plays a critical role in advancing the global climate change agenda. To do so, the Bank is working with governments, the private sector, and other development partners on a range of innovative solutions to support greener and cleaner energy policies, including carbon pricing.
Last Updated: Sep 19, 2016