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East Asia and Pacific

Now is the time to strengthen disaster risk reduction in East Asia and the Pacific

Axel van Trotsenburg's picture
In PDF: Korean | Khmer

Every time I learn of another natural disaster – the people killed and injured, homes destroyed, livelihoods lost – I know we must act to reduce the tragic impact instead of waiting for the next disaster strikes.

We have that chance with this year’s World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai, which seeks to finalize the successor to the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA2) that guides policymakers and international stakeholders in managing disaster risk. The conference is an opportunity to set new milestones in disaster risk reduction and fighting poverty.

The cost of natural disasters already is high – 2.5 million people and $4 trillion lost over the past 30 years with a corresponding blow to development efforts.

In Asia, rapid urbanization combined with poor planning dramatically increases the exposure of cities, particularly those along densely populated coasts and river basins. Typhoon Haiyan, which killed more than 7,350 people in the Philippines in 2013, directly contributed to a 1.2 percent rise in poverty.

Bản đồ hóa chỉ số nghèo Việt Nam

Gabriel Demombynes's picture
Also available in: English

Chúng tôi vừa ra mắt trang web MapVietnam tại địa chỉ trong đó cung cấp số liệu kinh tế xã hội cấp tỉnh và huyện của Việt Nam. Mục đích của trang web là cung cấp thông tin cho các phóng viên, các nhà hoạch định chính sách, nhà nghiên cứu, và tất cả những người dân cần thông tin về tình hình kinh tế xã hội tại địa phương. Bản đồ sẽ cung cấp các thông tin đa dạng về Việt Nam mà nếu chỉ nhìn vào con số thống kê tổng hợp thì rất khó để hình dung. Thông tin trên trang web được cung cấp cả bằng tiếng Việt và tiếng Anh.

Mapping Vietnam’s Poverty Indicators

Gabriel Demombynes's picture
Also available in: Tiếng Việt

We just launched the new MapVietnam website at which provides access to socioeconomic data at the province and district level in both English and Vietnamese. The site is intended to be a resource for journalists, policymakers, researchers, and citizens looking for information on social and economic situations at a local level. The maps illustrate Vietnam’s wide diversity, which can be lost in aggregate statistics.  It is available in both English and Vietnamese.

Pacific connected: A regional approach to development challenges facing island nations

Axel van Trotsenburg's picture

Dots on the world map – they are coral atolls and volcanic islands spread across a vast swath of the Pacific Ocean with names as exotic as their turquoise water, white sand and tropical foliage.
Twelve Pacific Island countries are members of the World Bank. Between them they are home to about 11 million people, much less than one percent of the global population.

One of them, Kiribati, consists of 33 atolls and coral islets, spread across an area larger than India, but with a land mass smaller than New Delhi. With less than 10,000 inhabitants, Tuvalu is the World Bank’s smallest member country.
Despite such remote and tiny landscapes, the Pacific Island countries – including Fiji, Palau, Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Marshall Islands, Papua New Guinea, the Federated States of Micronesia and Timor-Leste – represent far more than meets the eye.

Revisi PDB Indonesia: Potret yang Lebih Tepat

Alex Sienaert's picture
Also available in: English

Badan Pusat Statistik telah mengeluarkan statistik triwulan nasional pada 5 Februari 2015. Biasanya data yang diterbitkan secara triwulanan akan mengundang keingintahuan yang besar (setidaknya bagi para ekonom makro dan pengamat ekonomi yang selalu haus akan perkembangan data terbaru tren pertumbuhan jangka pendek). Namun data yang dihasilkan BPS kali ini mempunyai kekhususan karena selain memberikan data triwulan  tahun 2014, juga terdapat dua revisi signifikan terhadap statistik PDB Indonesia yaitu: (1) menggeser tahun dasar perhitungan PDB dari tahun 2000 menjadi 2010, dan (2) mengadopsi metodologi dan presentasi statisik yang jauh lebih baru (yaitu memperbaharui perhitungan neraca nasional dari Sistem SNA 1993 menjadi SNA 2008).[1]

Dengan adanya revisi ini, hal baru apa yang bisa diketahui tentang perkembangan ekonomi Indonesia yang tidak kita ketahui sebelumnya? Satu perubahan yang langsung terlihat adalah: output total dengan harga nominal saat ini menjadi sekitar 4,4 persen lebih besar dibanding estimasi pada tahun 2014 (dan rata-rata 5,2 persen lebih besar pada periode 2010-2014). Hal ini merupakan perubahan yang signifikan menambah Rp 448 triliun, atau sekitar USD 35,3 milyar pada besaran estimasi ekonomi Indonesia pada tahun 2014. Menurut BPS, sekitar sepertiga output tambahan tersebut adalah hasil penyertaan beberapa aktivitas ekonomi baru di bawah SNA 2008, dan sekitar dua-pertiga berasal dari perbaikan pengukuran.

Indonesia’s GDP revision: a crisper snapshot

Alex Sienaert's picture
Also available in: Bahasa Indonesia

Indonesia’s national statistics agency (Badan Pusat Statistik, BPS) released quarterly national accounts statistics on February 5. Any quarterly data release creates a flurry of interest (well, at least amongst macroeconomists and economy-watchers hungry for the latest update on near-term growth trends). But this is a particularly important release because, as well as providing data for the final quarter of 2014, it also incorporates two significant revisions to Indonesia’s GDP statistics: (1) it  shifts the basis of the computation from the year 2000 to 2010, and (2) it adopts a significantly updated methodology and presentation of the statistics (updating Indonesia’s national accounts from the 1993 System of National Accounts [SNA] to SNA 2008).[1]

What do these revisions tell us about Indonesia’s economy that we didn’t know before? One change immediately stands out: total output in current prices is about 4.4 percent larger than previously estimated in 2014 (and 5.2 percent larger on average over 2010-2014). This is a significant change, adding IDR 448 trillion, or about USD 35.5 billion at the current market exchange rate, to the estimated size of the economy as of 2014. Roughly a third of the extra measured output is due to the incorporation of new kinds of economic activity under SNA 2008, and about two-thirds comes from more accurate measurements of previously-measured kinds of output, according to BPS.  

How to narrow the gap between the rich and poor in Malaysia?

Frederico Gil Sander's picture

If you could make one New Year’s wish for your country, what would it be?

For many Malaysians, Prime Minister Najib Razak’s wish for “a safer, more prosperous, and more equal society” likely resonated with their hopes for 2015.

Malaysians appear to be increasingly concerned about income inequality. According to a 2014 Pew Global survey, 77% of Malaysians think that the gap between the rich and poor is a big problem. The government has acknowledged that inequality remains high, and that tackling these disparities will be Malaysia’s “biggest challenge” in becoming a high-income nation.

How can Malaysia narrow the gap between the rich and poor? Global experience suggests two possible levers to achieve a more equitable income distribution.

Philippines: Shattering the Myths: It’s Not Tough to Build Green

Maria Teresita Lacerna's picture
Solar panels on the Tiarra houses in an affordable housing community in Batagas, south of Metro Manila, are expected to contribute to 32 percent savings in energy.

Buildings now dot the skyline of Bonifacio Global City in Metro Manila, which hosts, among others, the offices of the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation.  Who would have thought that this former military camp could be transformed into a bustling economic center in less than ten years?  And, with the rise of commercial buildings and residential condominiums following the area’s fast-paced growth, we see a growing demand for electricity that causes stress on the environment and resources. 


Axel van Trotsenburg's picture
Also available in: English
 Measuring a Decade of Spatial Growth






Malaysia: From Developing Nation to Development Partner

Axel van Trotsenburg's picture
World Bank Vice President for East Asia & Pacific on opening a new office in Malaysia

In 1954, the World Bank’s first mission report on Malaya – as the soon-to-be-independent country was called then – expressed concern about its development prospects. The mission was “favorably impressed with Malaya’s economic potentialities and prospects for expansion.” But it questioned  whether the “rates of economic progress and additions to employment opportunities can move ahead of or even keep up with the pace at which the population and the labor force are growing.”

Sixty years and 25 million more Malaysians later, hindsight proved such worries overdone as income per capita climbed from USD 250 at the time of the report to over USD$10,000 today.


With its successful economic and social development, Malaysia is now actively moving into a new role as a global development partner—supporting other countries in ending poverty and sharing lessons from its journey to become a regional economic powerhouse. This new role is a natural fit for a nation in transition toward a high-income status, and a big gain for the rest of us.