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Economy

ADB finds the 'Asian century' tantalizingly close

More infrastructure and banking reforms are needed to unlock region's potential

Demand for transport infrastructure is high in Dhaka.(Photo by Yuji Kuronuma)

YOKOHAMA, Japan In just five decades, Asia has changed beyond recognition, the Asian Development Bank was keen to inform participants at its 50th annual meeting, held in Yokohama from May 4.

A promotional video played repeatedly during the four-day event trumpeted this message, and with good reason. When the ADB was established in 1966, Asia was the poorest region in the world. Its annual per capita income of around $100 was less than one-fourth the figure for Latin America and below that of sub-Saharan Africa. Today, Asia accounts for one-third of global gross domestic product and contributes more than half of the world's economic growth, according to the bank.

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