Bright Asian future not pre-ordained, must be earned, says Asian Development Bank

MANILA | Fri Apr 29, 2011 (Reuters). Asia needs to work to ensure the potential of its economic and political rise is realized, including fulfilling its responsibilities as a global player, the Asian Development Bank said ahead of its annual meeting next week in Vietnam.

Home to 3.3 billion people, Asia has led the global economy in recent years, and the rise of China and India has lifted the region’s profile and influence in world markets.

But the region also has nearly 2 billion people living on less than $ 2 a day, including in China and India, who are most at risk from sharp rises in food and fuel prices this year.

“Sure we have had a tremendous growth story, incomes have increased, and Asia has a lot to be proud of,” ADB Managing Director General Rajat Nag told Reuters.

“But you also 700 million people without access to clean water, you have 1.7 billion people without access to sanitation, you’ve got maternal mortality which is high, you’ve got child malnutrition,” he said.

Around 3,000 people will gather in Hanoi for the May 3-6 meeting, and the ADB, charged with fighting poverty in Asia and the Pacific, will push the case for the region to face up to its responsibilities.

The message, Nag said, was clear: “Your rise is not preordained; it is plausible, but you’ve got to earn it.”

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