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Asia’s economic engine hasn’t run out of steam: Nakao

Asia’s economic engine hasn’t run out of steam: Nakao

FRANKFURT: The global recession and readjustments in China may have moderated the pace of Asia’s ascent, but the region’s share and influence in the global economy are set to rise over the next five years, ADB President Takehiko Nakao said on Thursday.

“Asian tide has not dissipated. China is growing at a decent pace despite embarking on reforms to reorient its policies to sustain the expansion,” he said while speaking at a panel discussion during the final day of the ADB’s 49th annual meeting.

“The growth in India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Vietnam and scores of other Asian countries is above global average and the outlook is promising despite challenges — both external and internal,” he said.

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, who shared the stage with his Indian and Indo­nesian counterparts besides a few others representing multilateral outfits, was measured in his response to pointed questions, particularly on soured ties with India.

Commenting on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), he emphasised that the “gains of the $46 billion investment in multiple infrastructure and logistics projects in Pakistan will transcend borders. It will certainly ramp up growth in my country but it would also be beneficial for the neighbouring countries, including Afghanistan, India and Central Asian Republics, by improving regional connectivity”.

Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who looked aloof and stiff, dismissed the possibility of a financial shock to India despite banking sector woes. “The problems faced by banks were rooted in troubles of some key sectors, such as steel, commodities and agriculture,” he said. “The situation is improving. And if we get a good monsoon this year and the global recession subsides, we hope to achieve higher-than-projected growth next year.”

All panellists concurred that much in Asia would depend on how different countries rebalance themselves to offset the negative impact of slowdown in China, commodity price crash and the global recession.

Dar elected ADB vice chair

The ADB’s board of governors unanimously elected Mr Dar as one of the two vice chairmen of the bank for 2016-17. The second vice chair was from Italy.

Mr Dar described his appointment as an honour that would increase both responsibility and the influence of the country in the regional bank.

“It’s a mark of recognition of our efforts and delivering on reforms leading the country out of the economic mess and putting it back on the rails,” he told Dawn on the sidelines of the meeting.

Published in Dawn, May 6th, 2016

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