East Asia and Pacific East Asia remains one of the main growth drivers of the world economy, accounting for nearly two-fifths of global economic growth. Overall, the region is expected to grow 6.5 percent in 2015, moderating slightly from 6.8 percent last year.
Growth in the developing economies of EAP is expected to ease, from 6.8 percent in 2014 to 6.5% in 2015 and 6.3% over 2016–17. This reflects mainly 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 in the EAP region, as measured using the new 2011 purchasing power parity (PPP) prices and a revised global extreme poverty line of $PPP 1.90 a day has decreased sharply, from 29.1% in 2002 to 7.2% in 2012, with projections indicating the poverty rate fell further to 4.8% in 2014. The new estimates indicate that the number of people in developing East Asia living on less than $PPP1.90 a day decreased from 551 million in 2002 to 147 million in 2012, and further to an estimated 97 million by 2014. Even excluding China, poverty declined rapidly from 21.1% in 2002 to 8.9% in 2012, the latest year with actual data for China. Nevertheless, using the global moderate poverty line (now updated to $3.10 a day in 2011 PPP prices), an estimated 379 million people lived in poverty in 2014, and were vulnerable to falling back into extreme poverty.
The region has huge infrastructure needs on account of rapid urbanization. As many as 142 million people have no access to power, and 600 million lack adequate sanitation. Rapid migration to cities is putting pressure on service delivery and leading to large urban slums, pollution, and environmental degradation. In the world’s most disaster-stricken region, concentrating 70% of natural disasters, urbanization challenges can be aggravated by a changing climate.
Managing the effects of climate change and disaster risk, rapid urbanization, improving governance and institutions, and encouraging private-sector led growth to create jobs are critical to reduce poverty and build shared prosperity across the region. Countries also need to prepare for volatility and shocks by expanding safety nets to protect the poor and vulnerable.
Last Updated: Oct 04, 2015