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

Polls Open in Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, 'No' voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve, 'Yes' vote not worth the risk More

China to Invest $20 billion In India Amid Border Dispute

Border spat between armies of two countries in Himalayas underlines mutual tensions despite growing commercial ties highlighted by Xi Jinping's high profile visit More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
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.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7718
JPY
USD
107.32
GBP
USD
0.6125
CAD
USD
1.0974
INR
USD
60.919

Rates may not be current.