Pacific Media Watch

10 August 2014

REGION: 743 million in Asia-Pacific still 'desperately poor', says ESCAP

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The 70th session of ESCAP in Bangkok, Thailand. Image: ESCAP

BANGKOK (Media For Freedom / UN News Centre / Pacific Media Watch): Developing countries in Asia and the Pacific are experiencing yet another year of subdued economic growth, says the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).
Their Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific 2014 was launched in Bangkok on Friday at the 70th session of the ESCAP. It found that there are growing levels of inequality, and a lack of access to social opportunities for many living in the region.
"The estimates indicate that the poorest 20 percent of people in 40 Asia-Pacific countries account for less than 10 percent of national income. The net wealth of about 49,000 ultra-wealthy individuals in the region – with at least $30 million in assets – is 17 times the combined gross domestic product (GDP) of Asia-Pacific least developed countries," Media For Freedom reported.

The UN News Centre said 743 million people in the region were still "desperately poor".

ESCAP executive-secretary Shamshad Akhtar said it was essential that growth be sustainable, inclusive and job-generating, and warned against growth that did not lead to job creation.

“The key to closing our development gaps and achieving our development goals is economic growth. But we cannot afford growth at any cost,” Akhtar said.

“Inequalities jeopardise the social cohesion and stability of societies. The ‘inequality trap’ risks intensifying social exclusion and creating a group of the ‘bottom billion’ that would be left behind," he added.

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Pacific Media Watch

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