Bridging the gap between development and finance

Bridging the gap between development and finance

Monday, March 28, 2016

Over the last five decades, Asia has enjoyed one of the highest economic growth records in the world, despite
a multitude of political challenges and economic shocks. With the support of global organizations such as the
United Nations (UN), Asia has led the world in the drive to achieve the Millennium Development Goals
(MDGs), with the proportion of people living on less than $1.25 per day projected to have fallen from 53% in
1990 to 12% by the end of the 2015.

However, there is still much to be achieved to maintain the momentum for the post[2015 era. Asia is at a
crossroads with many of the MDG targets remaining unmet. Rising inequality poses a dire threat to continued
prosperity in the region, where an estimated 500 million people remain trapped in extreme poverty, most of
them women and girls. The huge gap between rich and poor hinders holistic growth, undermines democratic
institutions and magnifies the risk of conflict – making these not just social problems, but also significant
economic and political concerns. In the global context, the world has entered into the age of the
Anthropocene, where natural resources consumption is on an unsustainable trajectory, climate change is
creating irreversible damage to the environment and the future of our planet and humanity as a whole is in

Traditional development players (governments, donor agencies, foundations, INGOs, among others) continue
to face a funding gap, with many endemic social and environmental issues competing for a limited pool of
resources. It is imperative to mobilize new resources that can achieve scalable and sustainable impact and
address large[scale, persistent and emerging social and environmental problems that are straining the
economy. Without creating capital markets that allow for the convergence of social progress and economic
growth, Asia will compromise its ability to achieve the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) targets.
This mandates a need to redefine Asia’s current development narrative and rethink the way the region
leverages the power of finance to generate holistic value.


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