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Asian Development Bank Wants Balanced Growth

The Asian Development Bank says Asia needs to balance its growth to prevent damage from future crises like the global economic slow-down. The bank has pledged to increase funds to strengthen growth.

The Asian Development Bank is holding its annual meeting in Bali, Indonesia, this week with the global economic crisis's effect on Asia at the top of the agenda.

ADB President Haruhiko Kuroda told the opening session Asia needs to restructure its growth model.

The bank says Asian economies are too dependent on foreign demand and need to move away from their reliance on exports.

"Rebalancing helps us to endure the current crisis," said Jong-Wha Lee, the Manila-based lender's acting chief economist. "And, more importantly, help protect us from the future external shocks."

Lee says Asian governments need to spend more on social services to encourage more domestic spending.

He says although the global financial crisis started in the United States it is rooted in global imbalances.

"Asia's excess savings and current account surpluses allowed the United States to maintain excessive household consumption and huge current account deficit," Lee said. "Asia should use its own savings more efficiently and more productively."

The Asian Development Bank says Asia 's growth this year is expected to fall to 3.4 percent.

The bank predicts 60 million Asians will remain trapped in poverty and that number will rise to 160 million in 2010.

Bank president Kuroda says with strong national and regional efforts, and a mild global recovery expected, the region should bounce back to six percent growth in 2010.

The Asia Development Bank says it plans to increase its capital base by 200 percent to $165 billion. The lender has also increased assistance for this year and next by $10 billion.

The extra funds are to help with the speed and efficiency of the bank's poverty alleviation efforts.