RP caught in middle-income trap

Published by rudy Date posted on May 5, 2011

THE Philippines will likely get trapped in middle-income status until 2050 because of slowing economic growth and stagnating incomes, according to the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

In its study titled, “Asia 2050: Realizing the Asian Century,” the Manila-based lender said countries like the Philippines and Sri Lanka exhibit the classic signs of the middle-income trap.

The middle-income trap refers to countries stagnating and not growing to advanced country status.

The ADB expects gross domestic product (GDP) per capita in the Philippines to rise to $22,900 by 2050, lower than Indonesia’s $37,400, Vietnam’s $33,800 and India’s $41,700.

The lender said Asian economies must avoid the middle-income trap to realize the Asian Century.

To meet these challenges, ADB said Asian leaders have to devise bold and innovative national policies, while pursuing avenues for regional and global cooperation.

“Policies that were effective in the past when Asia was largely a low-income, capital-scarce region are less likely to be effective today or in the future,” the lender said.

The Asian Century assumes significant economic growth between 2020 and 2050, bringing societies in the region closer to affluence.

By middle of the current century, an additional three billion Asians could enjoy higher living standards, but only if the region sustains its present growth momentum and addresses daunting multigenerational challenges and risks, the ADB said.

While developing Asia has made significant strides in tackling income poverty, the ADB said non-income poverty still remains pervasive, citing half of Asians who live without basic sanitation and 900 million people who have no access to electricity.–DARWIN G. AMOJELAR SENIOR REPORTER, Manila Times

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