South Asia remains the world’s fastest-growing region although capital inflows declined, inflation has been on the rise, and remittances from oil-exporting countries started to weaken. Economic growth rose to 6.9 percent in 2015, up from 6.7 percent in 2014, and is projected to slightly lower at 6.7 percent in 2016. It will accelerate to 6.8 percent in 2017 and 7.1 percent in 2018. Growth was especially strong in India, which continues to lead in performance among large emerging market economies.
Strong growth has translated into declining poverty and impressive improvements in human development. The proportion of people living on less than $1.90 a day was estimated at 18.8 percent as of 2012. Hundreds of millions still live slightly above the poverty line; however, more than 200 million live in slums, and about 500 million go without electricity. In addition, many countries in the region suffer from extreme forms of social exclusion and huge infrastructure gaps, and the larger countries are experiencing increases in inequality. Development in the region will be key to meeting global poverty and prosperity goals.