In the last three decades, East Asia has reaped the demographic dividend. An abundant and growing labor force powered almost one-third of the region’s per capita income growth from the 1960s to the 1990s, making it the world’s growth engine.
Now, East Asia is facing the challenges posed by another demographic trend: rapid aging. A new World Bank report finds that East Asia and Pacific is aging faster – and on a larger scale – than any other region in history.
More than 211 million people ages 65 and over live in East Asia and Pacific, accounting for 36 percent of the global population in that age group. By 2040, East Asia’s older population will more than double, to 479 million, and the working-age population will shrink by 10 percent to 15 percent in countries such as Korea, China, and Thailand.
Across the region, as the working-age population declines and the pace of aging accelerates, policy makers are concerned with the potential impact of aging on economic growth and rising demand for public spending on health, pension and long-term care systems.
As the region ages rapidly, how do governments, employers and households ensure that hard-working people live healthy and productive lives in old age? How do societies in East Asia and Pacific promote productive aging and become more inclusive?
The Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) is a major global rice producer and exporter but its population suffers from serious levels of poverty and malnutrition.
Spanning six countries – China, Myanmar, Lao PDR, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam – the region is home to 334 million people. Nearly 60 million of them are involved in rice production, growing collectively over 44% of the world’s rice. All of the countries, except China, are net exporters of rice. This means they have more rice available than required for domestic consumption. Yet, nearly 15% of the population is seriously malnourished and about 40% of children under five are stunted, in other words, too short for their age as a result of under nutrition.
The “Belt” is a network of overland road and rail routes, oil and natural gas pipelines, and other infrastructure projects that will stretch from Xi’an in central China through Central Asia and ultimately reach as far as Moscow, Rotterdam, and Venice. Rather than one route, belt corridors are set to run along the major Eurasian Land Bridges, through China-Mongolia-Russia, China-Central and West Asia, China-Indochina Peninsula, China-Pakistan, Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar.
The “Road” is its maritime equivalent: a network of planned ports and other coastal infrastructure projects that dot the map from South and Southeast Asia to East Africa and the northern Mediterranean Sea.
The latest cyclical warming of Pacific Ocean waters, first observed centuries ago and formally tracked since 1950, began earlier this year and already has been felt across Asia, Africa and Latin America.
Weather experts predict this El Niño will continue into the spring of 2016 and could wreak havoc, because climate change is likely to exacerbate the intensity of storms and flooding in some places and of severe drought and water shortages in others.
El Niño’s impacts are global, with heavy rain and severe flooding expected in South America and scorching weather and drought conditions likely in the Horn of Africa region.
동아시아는 지난 30년 간 이어진 전례 없는 경제 성장 덕분에 전 세계 경제의 25%를 차지하는 경제 동력원으로 성장했다. 중국, 인도네시아, 말레이시아, 태국, 베트남을 비롯한 이 지역은 좀 더 노동 집약적이고 포용적인 성장을 이루어낸 덕분에 수억명의 사람이 극심한 가난에서 벗어나 더 큰 번영을 누릴 수 있었다.
이러한 성공에는 대가가 따랐다. 지난 해를 기준으로 동아시아 인구 중 1억명이 아직도 하루 1.25 달러로 생활한다. 약 2억 6000만명이 여전히 하루 2달러 미만으로 생활하고 있는데, 이들은 세계 경제가 악화되거나 자국에 보건 악재 혹은 식량난이 발생하면 다시 가난에 빠질 가능성이 있다. 이들의 불확실한 미래야말로 동아시아의 급성장이 낳은 불평등이 갈수록 커지고 있음을 보여준다.
이 지역의 소득 격차는 2008년 세계 금융위기로 말미암아 한층 가중되었다. 중국과 인도네시아의 경우 소득 격차가 악화되었으며 싱가포르, 말레이시아, 필리핀에서는 소득 격차의 정도가 계속해서 높은 수준에 머물러 있다..
Unprecedented economic growth in the last three decades propelled East Asia into an economic powerhouse responsible for a quarter of the world’s economy.
Hundreds of millions of people across the region, including in China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam, lifted themselves out of extreme poverty and enjoyed greater prosperity, largely because of more labor-intensive and inclusive growth.
The success didn’t come without challenges. As of last year, 100 million people in East Asia still live on $1.25 a day. About 260 million still live on $2 a day or less, and they could fall back into poverty if the global economy takes a turn for the worse or if they face health, food and other shocks at home. Their uncertain future shows the increasing inequality of East Asia’s galloping growth.