Asia's Challenges: Ensuring Inclusive and Green Growth
Rajat M. Nag, Managing Director General at Asian Development Bank
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Much has been made of the Asian success story. The region is a key driver of the global economy, and the lives of millions of its people have been transformed in ways unimaginable decades agoIt is ironic, however, that the factors that have driven Asia's rapid growth—technology, globalization, and market-oriented reforms—are the same factors driving inequality. Asia remains home to the world's largest concentration of poor. Millions of people do not have access even to basic services, and weak governance is a serious concern. Rising inequality is not the only challenge facing Asian countries. There is also the looming threat of environmental degradation. For decades the region has taken the approach of “grow now, clean up later,” wreaking havoc on the environment and putting lives and livelihoods at serious risk. If Asia is to achieve sustainable growth, it must pursue both inclusive growth and green growth. These should not be separate processes, but rather simultaneous processes that focus on the quality of growth rather than quantity of growth.