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How do we achieve sustained growth? Through human capital, and East Asia and the Pacific proves it

Michael Crawford's picture
Students at Beijing Bayi High School in China. Photo: World Bank


In 1950, the average working-age person in the world had  almost three years of education, but in East Asia and Pacific (EAP), the  average person had less than half that amount. Around this time, countries in  the EAP  region put themselves on a path that focused on growth  driven by human capital. They made significant and steady investments in  schooling to close the educational attainment gap with the rest of the world. While  improving their school systems, they also put their human capital to work in  labor markets. As a result, economic growth has been stellar: for four decades  EAP has grown at roughly twice the pace of the global average. What is more, no  slowdown is in sight for rising prosperity.

High economic growth and strong human capital accumulation  are deeply intertwined. In a recent paper, Daron Acemoglu and David Autor explore  the way skills and labor markets interact: Human capital is the central  determinant of economic growth and is the main—and very likely the only—means  to achieve shared growth when technology is changing quickly and raising the  demand for skills. Skills promote productivity and growth, but if there are not  enough skilled workers, growth soon chokes off. If, by contrast, skills are abundant and  average skill-levels keep rising, technological change can drive productivity  and growth without stoking inequality.

Cheers, NZ: How New Zealand and the World Bank are changing lives in the Pacific

Kara Mouyis's picture




New Zealand has a long history of supporting its close neighbors in the Pacific, both in times of disaster and emergencies, and to help improve the lives of many thousands across the region.

On Waitangi Day, the national day of New Zealand, we take a look at three key World Bank projects in the Pacific, and how New Zealand’s support has been integral to making them happen.

On International Women’s Day, 5 facts about gender and the law in the Pacific Islands

Katrin Schulz's picture




There is a lot that development practitioners don’t know about the Pacific Islands. When it comes to the laws of these small island nations scattered throughout the ocean separating Asia and the Americas, most people outside the region know even less. Add the dimension of gender to the mix and you might be met with blank stares.

We must prepare now for another major El Niño

Axel van Trotsenburg's picture
Also available in: 中文
El Niño is back and may be stronger than ever.
 
A wooden boat is seen stranded on the dry cracked riverbed of the Dawuhan Dam during drought season in Madiun, Indonesia's East Java province.  October 28, 2015 © ANTARA FOTO/Reuters/Corbis



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.

ถึงเวลาที่ต้องสร้างความแข็งแกร่งให้กับการลดความเสี่ยงจากภัยพิบัติในเอเชียตะวันออกและแปซิฟิก

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

ทุกครั้งที่ผมทราบข่าวว่ามีภัยพิบัติทางธรรมชาติเกิดขึ้น ผู้คนบาดเจ็บเสียชีวิต บ้านเรือนพังเสียหาย ชีวิตความเป็นอยู่ของผู้คนที่ประสบภัยต้องเปลี่ยนแปลงไป ผมรู้ว่าเราต้องทำอะไรสักอย่างเพื่อช่วยลดผลกระทบอันน่าสลดใจนี้ แทนที่จะรอให้มันเกิดขึ้นอีก

เรามีโอกาสจะผลักดันเรื่องนี้ในการประชุมนานาชาติเรื่องการลดความเสี่ยงจากภัยพิบัติที่จัดขึ้นปีนี้ ณ เมืองเซนได ประเทศญี่ปุ่น เพื่อสรุปแนวทางการดำเนินงานกรอบการดำเนินงานเฮียวโกะ ระยะที่ 2 (Hyogo Framework for Action-HFA2) ซึ่งเป็นแนวทางในการบริหารจัดการความเสี่ยงจากภัยพิบัติแก่ผู้กำหนดนโยบายและผู้มีส่วนเกี่ยวข้องในระดับนานาชาติ การประชุมครั้งนี้ถือเป็นโอกาสที่จะตั้งเป้าหมายในการลดความเสี่ยงจากภัยพิบัติและต่อสู้กับความยากจนอีกด้วย

ภัยพิบัติจากธรรมชาติมีมูลค่าความเสียหายมหาศาล ในรอบ 30 ปีที่ผ่านมา มีผู้เสียชีวิตไปแล้ว 2 ล้าน 5 แสนคน และสร้างความสูญเสียเป็นมูลค่า 4 ล้านล้านเหรียญสหรัฐฯ นอกจากนี้ยังส่งผลกระทบให้การพัฒนาชะงักลง

ในภูมิภาคเอเชีย การพัฒนาเขตเมืองอย่างรวดเร็วผนวกกับการวางผังเมืองยังไม่มีคุณภาพได้เพิ่มความเสี่ยงให้เมืองต่าง ๆ เป็นอย่างมาก โดยเฉพาะเมืองที่ตั้งอยู่แถบชายฝั่งและลุ่มแม่น้ำที่มีประชากรอาศัยอยู่หนาแน่น พายุไต้ฝุ่นไห่เยี่ยนได้คร่าชีวิตผู้คนกว่า 7,350 คนในฟิลิปปินส์ เมื่อปี 2556 แล้วยังส่งผลโดยตรงให้ความยากจนเพิ่มขึ้นร้อยละ 1.2

Sekaranglah waktunya memperkuat pengendalian risiko bencana di Asia Timur dan Pasifik

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

Setiap kali saya diberitahu terjadinya kembali sebuah bencana alam – tentang korban jiwa masyarakat, rumah-rumah yang hancur, matapencaharian yang hilang – saya teringat bagaimana pentingnya kita perlu bertindak guna mengurangi dampak tragedi tersebut. Kita  tidak bisa menunggu sampai bencana kembali terjadi.

Pada World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction di Sendai, yang akan berupaya mencari penerus Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA2) -- panduan bagi para pembuat kebijakan dan pemangku kepentingan internasional dalam bidang manajemen risiko bencana – peluang itu ada di tangan kita. Konferensi ini adalah peluang untuk menjadi tonggak penting dalam hal pengendalian risiko bencana dan pengentasan kemiskinan.

Biaya akibat bencana alam sudah sangat tinggi. Dalam periode 30 tahu, sekitar 2,5 juta korban jiwa dan $4 triliun hilang akibat bencana, dan hal ini berdampak pada upaya pembangunan.

Di Asia, urbanisasi yang pesat serta perencanaan yang kurang baik telah secara signifikan mempertajam kerentanan kota, khususnya perkotaan dengan tingkat kepadatan penduduk yang tinggi dan terletak di pesisir atau tepi sungai. Lebih dari 7.350 korban jiwa jatuh akibat Badai Haiyan  di Filipina pada tahun 2013, dan bencana tersebut secara langsung mengakibatkan naiknya tingkat kemiskinan sebesar 1,2 persen.

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.
 

Picture (not) perfect – a look behind the scenes of Small Island Developing States

Denis Jordy's picture
Stunning photos we usually associate with the Pacific Islands often overlook the reality for many who live there. Faced with natural hazards and remoteness, they are some of the most vulnerable nations in the world.
Stunning photos we usually associate with the Pacific Islands often overlook the reality for many who live there. Faced with natural hazards and remoteness, they are some of the most vulnerable nations in the world.



A picture can tell a thousand words but the stunning photos we usually associate with the Pacific Islands often overlook the reality for many who live there. Faced with natural hazards such as cyclones, droughts and earthquakes alongside geographical remoteness and isolation, Pacific Island countries, which make up over a third of small island developing states (SIDS), are some of the most vulnerable nations in the world. 
 
Already this year the Pacific region has been hit by two major disasters; Tropical Cyclone Ian in Tonga in January, followed by flash flooding in Solomon Islands in April. Both disasters had devastating impacts on the economy and livelihoods of local communities. Situated within the cyclone belt and Pacific Ring of Fire, earthquakes, tsunamis and cyclones are frequent. Around 41 tropical cyclones occur each year across the region as well as numerous earthquakes and floods.
 

East Asia and Pacific countries can do better in labor regulation and social protection

Truman Packard's picture

Those unfamiliar with the fast growing emerging economies of East Asia are likely to think that governments in these countries let market forces and capitalism roam free, red in tooth and claw. That was certainly my impression before coming to work in the region, and generally that held at the outset of our work by the group of us that wrote a new World Bank report “East Asia Pacific At Work: Employment, Enterprise and Wellbeing” .

The report shows just how wrong we were. We could be forgiven this impression—many of us had come from assignments in Latin America and the Caribbean or in Europe and Central Asia, where the distortions and rigidities from labor regulation and poorly designed social protection are rife, and where policy makers cast envious looks at the stellar and sustained employment outcomes in East Asia.

Well, it turns out that although they came relatively late to labor regulation and social protection, many governments in the region have entered this arena with gusto. We were surprised to find that, going just by what is written in their labor codes, the average level of employment protection in East Asia is actually higher than the OECD average.

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