Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific 2011: Sustaining Dynamism and Inclusive Development: Connectivity in the Region and Productive Capacity in Least Developed Countries

Flagship7 Apr 2011

The economies of Asia and the Pacific recovered strongly in 2010 from the depths of the “Great Recession” of 2008/09 but they face fresh challenges in 2011. These include the return of food and fuel crises that are threatening hard-won development gains, sluggish recovery in the advanced economies, and a deluge of shortterm capital flows that in turn is leading to volatility in capital markets, the build-up of asset bubbles and the appreciation of exchange rates. Furthermore, the devastation wrought by the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan provides another stark reminder of the region’s vulnerability to natural disasters. These challenges pose significant downside risks to an otherwise robust growth outlook as the region emerges as the growth pole of the global economy.

In addition to addressing short-term risks, policymakers have to meet the challenge of rebalancing the region’s economies in favour of domestic and regional investment and consumption. While wide development gaps provide significant headroom for expanding domestic demand, deepening regional economic cooperation is also critical to sustain dynamism in coming years. Some of the areas needing policy attention are enhancement of connectivity between markets and peoples through improved transport linkages, regional institution-building, streamlined transport and trade facilitation and progress towards a regional energy framework.

The region’s least developed countries have not been able to enjoy the emerging opportunities offered by expanding markets and strengthened connectivity owing to their lack of productive capacity. Besides putting in place a supportive national policy framework, they need to be assisted in building productive capacities by their development partners.

The 2011 edition of the oldest and most comprehensive annual review of development in this vast and diverse region, the Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific assesses the critical issues, policy challenges and risks that the region faces in coming months and outlines the elements of a policy agenda for sustaining dynamism and inclusive development for an Asia-Pacific century.