News / Economy

Economy Experts Call on Asia to Lead the World in Reducing Poverty

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono gestures as he speaks during a session at the World Economic Forum On East Asia In Jakarta, Indonesia, June 12, 2011
Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono gestures as he speaks during a session at the World Economic Forum On East Asia In Jakarta, Indonesia, June 12, 2011

Participants at a meeting of the World Economic Forum in Indonesia are calling on governments in Asia to lead the world in reducing poverty.

In the year 2000, 192 countries agreed to support the United Nations Millennium Development Goals to eradicate extreme poverty and significantly reduce child mortality rates by 2015.

In the years since, many Asian countries have experienced sustained double digit economic growth that has raised the living standards of millions of people.

But Rajat Nag, Managing Director General of the Asian Development Bank, joined a panel of economists and leaders at the World Economic Forum in Jakarta who say governments must do more to meet the Millennium Development goals.

Nag says despite the robust growth, 900 million people still live on $1.25 a day, 450 million people lack access to clean water, and more than 100 million children still die each year during childbirth.

He says governments in Asia must do more to fund basic nutrition programs, provide health care and education. Nag says paying for these programs will mean significantly raising taxes.

“In Asia the average taxes collected as a percentage of GDP is likely under 10 percent. In the developed world it is easily 20 percent. So there is a huge amount of public resource mobilization which needs to happen. Not just by raising tax rates but by increasing the tax base, improving the tax collection,” said Nag.

Indonesian Vice President Boediono says while significant progress in reducing poverty has been made in his country, he agrees that more programs and increased tax revenues are needed to address the problem.

“I belong to the school that the government should play an appropriate role and even in and especially in the social program, should intervene, proactively. And this requires financing and that I think has to be, to come from our own resources,” stated Boediono.

American economist and Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University Jeffrey Sachs says Asian countries experiencing robust economic growth should shoulder the responsibility for poverty reduction with a mix of public and private initiatives. He says the slow economic recovery in the developed world has left Europe looking inward and the United States overly focused on cutting taxes.

“My own country the United States wants it for free. We're on a constant tax cutting binge. The rich want no taxes," said Sachs. "They say let the market do it but we end up without the social policy. We have lots of poverty. We end up without the environmental policy.”

While U.S. income tax rates are still higher than those in Asia, they remain lower than those in European countries. Opponents of higher taxes say they inhibit economic growth from private business that ultimately does more to lift people out of poverty.

Sachs says Asia's dynamic economic growth in recent years also brings an increased responsibility to meet its pledge to eradicate extreme poverty in the next four years.

You May Like

Photogallery Brussels Schools, Metro Reopen Under Heavy Guard

City remains under the highest threat alert level due to what authorities have described as a 'serious and imminent' threat of attack

Video Debt-ridden Refugees Await Onslaught of Lebanese Winter

Aid agencies are attempting to reduce potentially devastating consequences of freezing conditions and snowstorms that killed eight last year, including three Syrian refugees

UN Warns Air Pollution in Asia Pacific Has Rising Cost

Globally some seven million people a year die prematurely due to indoor and outdoor pollution with about 70 per cent of those deaths in region

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against ISi
November 24, 2015 3:04 AM
The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs

World Currencies


Rates may not be current.