ประเทศไทยได้เปลี่ยนผ่านจากประเทศที่มีรายได้ต่ำไปสู่ประเทศที่มีรายได้สูงระดับปานกลางในเพียงแค่ช่วงหนึ่งอายุคน อัตราความยากจนลดลงเหลือร้อยละ 7.5 เมื่อปีพ.ศ. 2558 เมื่อวัดจากเส้นความยากจนของประเทศที่มีรายได้สูงระดับปานกลางโลก การเข้าถึงการศึกษาขั้นพื้นฐาน และสุขภาพเกือบจะครอบคลุมคนไทยทุกคน แต่ถึงจะมีความสำเร็จในอดีต ความเหลื่อมล้ำยังคงเป็นเรื่องที่คนไทยทุกคนยังกังวลใจอยู่
Thailand has transitioned from a low-income to an upper middle-income country in a single generation. Poverty has declined to 7.1 percent in 2015 – as measured by the international upper-middle income class poverty line – and access to basic education and health has become nearly universal. Despite all these historic achievements, inequality remains a key concern for Thai people.
In Ulaanbaatar (UB), the coldest capital city in the world, and one with the highest recorded levels of air pollution—surpassing even the megacities of Beijing and New Delhi—access to reliable and clean heating services is essential for survival.
Driven by population growth, urbanization, and economic development in UB, the demand for heating has been increasing rapidly. But the current district heating (DH) infrastructure that serves most urban buildings is insufficient, unreliable and deteriorating due to the lack of funds for investments and maintenance. System losses are high, and more than half of transmission pipelines are in urgent need of repair. To make matters worse, the fragmented institutional structure limits incentives to make the system more efficient and constrains long-term investment planning. Meanwhile, on the demand side, the poor thermal insulation of buildings means significant heat losses, adding to the sector’s struggle to meet the increasing demand.
Nearly 75 years ago in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, a group of nations met to discuss the establishment of a global system of cooperation for supporting the economic recovery of countries affected by the Second World War. The outcome of these deliberations resulted in the creation of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Monetary Fund; and an immediate post-war focus on financing the reconstruction of war-torn countries, particularly in Europe. The first few loans issued by the IBRD were to France, the Netherlands and Denmark.
In 2015, countries around the world adopted a set of goals to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all as part of a new sustainable development agenda. Formulated on the principle that no one gets left behind, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has defined the world’s priorities and aspirations for 2030.
But to mobilize these efforts, we need to effectively uplift groups at the bottom where poverty plays a main obstacle. Although poverty levels have fallen dramatically since 2000, there are still 783 million people living below the international poverty line of $1.90 a day. We may need more creative and effective solutions to end poverty. In the recent 4th Annual Symposium on Islamic Finance in Kuala Lumpur, we discussed how Islamic social finance might just be the key to alleviating poverty and hunger.
China’s rapid development of e-commerce has begun to reshape production and consumption patterns as well as change people’s daily lives. In 2016, the World Bank and the Alibaba Group launched a joint research initiative to examine how China has harnessed digital technologies to aid growth and expand employment opportunities through e-commerce development in rural areas. The research seeks to distill lessons and identify policy options to enhance the positive effect of e-commerce on the reduction of poverty and inequality. Emerging findings from that research show that rural e-commerce evolves from grassroots development to become a potential tool for poverty alleviation with public-private partnerships.
E-commerce has grown quickly in China. Total e-commerce trade volume increased from less than 1,000 billion yuan (US$120.8 billion) in 2004 to nearly 30,000 billion yuan (US$4.44 trillion) in 2017. While e-commerce is more developed in urban areas, online retail sales in rural areas have grown faster than the national average. From 2014 to 2017, online retail sales in rural China increased from RMB 180 billion to 1.24 trillion, a compound annual growth rate of 91%, compared to 35% nationally.
中国电子商务增长迅速。2004年至2017年，电商交易总额从不到1万亿元人民币（约合1208亿美元）增至近30万亿元人民币（约合4.44万亿美元 ）。尽管电子商务在城镇的发展水平更高，但网上零售额在农村地区增长更快。2014年至2017年，中国农村网上零售额 从1800亿元增至1.24万亿元，年均复合增长率达91%，而同期的全国平均水平为35%。
Anyone who visits Malaysia will quickly come to realize that Malaysians are blessed with enormous talent, ranging from the myriad of entrepreneurs creating new businesses online to those active in the creative industries including music, culture and sports. But there is also still a widespread sense that Malaysia is not making the most of its human capital, with concerns that despite large investments in education and health, the returns are not as high as they should be, and that a large share of Malaysians are still being left behind.
East Asia Pacific’s (EAP) strong economic performance over the past few decades has significantly benefited and empowered women in the region, bringing better health and education and greater access to economic opportunities. To celebrate International Women’s Day, we are featuring 12 women in the region who embody the advancements women have made in EAP, despite the many barriers that remain for them at work.
Surpassing all other developing regions, EAP’s female-to-male enrollment ratio for tertiary education is currently 1.2, with the ratio of secondary education access nearly equal for girls and boys. But