Change Font: A A A A Contact Us      What's New      FAQs      Sitemap      E-Notifications      Help           ADB.org home
Home E-mail Notifications ADBI E-Newsline

ADBI E-Newsline

TOP HEADLINES 28 October 2014
1. SOUTH ASIA: Summit ends with pact on energy
2. INDONESIA: Trans-Sumatra railway in sight
3. BANGLADESH: The persistent water crisis
P O V E R T Y   S P O T L I G H T
INDIA: Women on the edge of land and life
4. LAO PDR: Mekong bridge agreements
5. PRC: More inclusive new normal
6. NEPAL: Report on labor migration published
7. VIET NAM: Foreigners permitted to buy houses
8. BANGLADESH: Higher economic growth demands larger FDI
9. PHILIPPINES: Economic growth slows in third quarter
10. INDONESIA: Bankers doubt liquidity rules will have desired effect
IN DEPTH
1. SOUTH ASIA: Summit ends with pact on energy
Source: gulf-times.com

"The 18th South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation (SAARC) summit concluded in Kathmandu on Thursday with the adoption of a 36-point Kathmandu Declaration. The summit adopted the Kathmandu Declaration with the theme of 'Deeper Integration for Peace and Prosperity' to deepen cooperation in core areas of trade, investment, finance, energy, infrastructure and connectivity. During the summit, a SAARC Framework Agreement on Energy Co-operation was signed.

The summit also agreed to launch regional and sub-regional projects in the agreed areas of cooperation, especially in the area of poverty alleviation, infrastructure building, connectivity and energy. Strengthening the SAARC Development Fund, effective implementation of the SAARC Action Plan on Poverty Alleviation with a view to making South Asian free from poverty and hunger. The leaders have agreed to hold henceforth the SAARC summit meetings every two years, or earlier if necessary."



2. INDONESIA: Trans-Sumatra railway in sight
Source: thejakartapost.com

"Indonesia's Transportation Ministry is preparing a 2,168-kilometer railway linking Aceh in the northern part of Sumatra to Lampung on the southern tip of the country's longest island as part of the medium-term development program. The feasibility study for the development of the Trans-Sumatra railway is expected to begin next year.

The government has set a target of reducing the country's logistics costs from the current 23.4 percent of GDP to 19.2 percent in 2019. Finance Minister Bambang Brodjonegoro previously said that the Sumatra railway was one of the government's priority projects to integrate freight transportation outside Java."



3. BANGLADESH: The persistent water crisis
Source: thedailystar.net

"According to Unicef, 97% of Bangladeshis have access to tube well water. This has dramatically reduced the incidence of water-borne diseases such as diarrhea and cholera. But instead of developing modern water supply facilities to utilize surface water across the country, the focus of water management has shifted to heavy engineering development for flood control, river erosion control, and irrigation system installation.

Exacerbating the problem are the recent industrial boom, rapid urbanization, extensive agrochemical use, and inadequate sewage systems. Each day about 2 million tons of untreated waste is dumped into rivers and their distributaries. Health authorities have meanwhile assured the public that tube well water is safe. But in the 1990s groundwater in Bangladesh was found to be toxic with high levels of arsenic."


P O V E R T Y   S P O T L I G H T
INDIA: Women on the edge of land and life
Source: Independent European Daily Express

"November is the cruelest month for landless families in the India's Sundarbans, the largest single block of tidal mangrove forest in the world lying primarily in the eastern Indian state of West Bengal. There is little agricultural wage-work to be found, and the village moneylender's loan remains unpaid, its interest mounting. The paddy harvest is a month away, pushing rice prices to an annual high. Roughly 52 of the 102 islands that dot this delta are inhabited, comprising a population of some 4.5 million people.

Financial indebtedness is widespread. Fragmentation of landholdings through generations has left many families with only homesteads of approximately 0.09 hectares apiece. Nearly 90 percent of people here live in mud and thatched-roof homes. Paddy is the primary crop, grown only during monsoon from mid-June to mid-September. Forests and fisheries, including harvesting of shrimps, provide the only other source of income, but with a population density of 1,100 persons per square km, compared to the national average of 382 per square km, poverty among island households is twice as high as national rates."


4. LAO PDR: Mekong bridge agreements
Source: nationmultimedia.com

"Thailand's Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha wrapped up an official visit to Laos on Thursday with the promise to Vientiane of Thai support for the construction of two more Mekong bridges linking the two countries and a special economic zone in Nong Khai. Thailand will provide financial support in terms of a soft loan for the construction of the fifth and sixth bridges, between Bueng Kan and Paksan and between Ubon Ratchathani and Salavan.

In a meeting with his Laotian counterpart Thongsing Thammavong, Prayut said he had made inquiries about the proposed rail project connecting the two countries as both sides were considering using Chinese rail technology. China has agreed to help develop an 867-kilometer dual-track electric railway linking Bangkok with Thailand. Vientiane, meanwhile, has been engaged with Beijing for some time about having a rail route linking China's border to the Laotian capital."



5. PRC: More inclusive new normal
Source: chinadaily.com.cn

"China's economy relies heavily on heavy investment, cheap labor and land, while the human creative potential lags far behind. In the latest world competitiveness report released by the World Economic Forum, China ranks 28 in terms of competitiveness; but it drops to 83 when it comes to science and technology related to human development. To make everything worse, Chinese citizens are divided, by the residence registration (hukou) system, into urban and rural residents, with urban residents enjoying superior public services to rural residents.

The solutions to these problems are evident. Human-oriented comprehensive reform is needed, which should include higher wages, better people-related services, and removing the barriers that create inequality and restrict human development. The worsening social inequality has much to do with housing prices, which have risen by 25 percent annually for the last 10 years."



6. NEPAL: Report on labor migration published
Source: thehimalayantimes.com

"Nepal's Ministry of Labor and Employment has published the first national report on the status of labor migration in Nepal. The report has identified the structural challenges and policy gaps impacting labor migration, and offered strategies to help address the existing gaps and challenges.

It has further provided a framework for the government and non-government agencies concerned with addressing effective governance of labor migration and in particular protection of the rights of migrant workers. A total of 2,226,152 labour permits were issued over the six-year period, representing a staggering 137 percent increase between 2008/09 and 20013/14, which represents about 8 percent of Nepal's total population, according to the report."



 DEVBlogs ROUNDUP
Despite stark differences in economic size, standard of living and per capita income, Myanmar shares first place with United States in the World Giving Index 2014. The Charities Aid Foundation's annual index is calculated by simply averaging responses to three central questions. Myanmar's lead ranking is mainly due to an extraordinarily high incidence of donating money. While 85 percent of its population aged over 15 said last year that they had donated money, the ratio has risen to 91 percent this year.

7. VIET NAM: Foreigners permitted to buy houses
Source: bangkokpost.com

"Vietnamese lawmakers have approved a law allowing broad foreign ownership of property, as the government seeks to boost an ailing real-estate market and accelerate economic growth. Foreigners with a valid visa as well as foreign companies and international organizations operating in Vietnam now will be permitted to purchase houses and apartments. Current laws restrict ownership to foreigners married to Vietnamese and those foreigners deemed to make significant contributions to the nation's development.

The law is the latest government move to help bolster the property market, following a housing stimulus program and a low-cost home loan package. Vietnam is stepping up efforts to boost economic growth to 5.8% this year and clear up bad debts in the financial system, some of which are tied to property. The new rules also allow maximum foreign ownership of 30% in any apartment building or 250 houses in a ward."



8. BANGLADESH: Higher economic growth demands larger FDI
Source: thedailystar.net

"Bangladesh needs to accelerate GDP growth to over 8 percent and maintain the present remittance growth to become a middle-income country by 2021, the International Chamber of Commerce Bangladesh said. Sustained growth has generated higher demand for improved infrastructure including uninterrupted power supply, better transport and telecommunication services, all of which require increased private investment, it said.

Bangladesh's economy has maintained a healthy 6 percent-plus growth rate in the past decade despite global shocks. The government has set a 7.3 percent growth target in the current budget, which requires total investment to be around 34.3 percent of GDP from the current 28.7 percent. Even thought there has been steady growth in FDI, analysts say most of it has been for expansion of existing industries."



9. PHILIPPINES: Economic growth slows in third quarter
Source: channelnewsasia.com

"Typhoon damage and falling public spending slowed the Philippines' previously red-hot economy to its weakest pace in nearly three years with growth expanding 5.3 percent in the third quarter, officials said on Thursday. Fierce winds and destructive floods generated by typhoons led to a 2.7 percent year-on-year contraction in farm output, Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said. Bad weather typical during the season also had a huge impact on farm output.

Apart from agriculture, Balisacan said government consumption and public construction activities slowed as President Benigno Aquino's government adjusted to 'new spending protocols', some imposed to fight corruption. Nevertheless, Balisacan said business sentiment remained optimistic. Export growth was robust in the third quarter, supported by the strengthening of the global manufacturing industry that boosted the country's key exports of semiconductors, wiring harnesses for vehicles and garments."



10. INDONESIA: Bankers doubt liquidity rules will have desired effect
Source: Jakarta Globe

"Looser liquidity rules for banks in Indonesia are unlikely to have the intended effect of boosting lending growth as a simultaneous rise in interest rates at a time when the economy is slowing down will curb credit demand. The central bank last week said it will count bonds and securities issued by banks, alongside deposits, as part of a lender's loan-to-deposit ratio (LDR), which helps investors assess if a bank is overstretching itself.

The new measure effectively frees up capital for lending because it increases the size of the assets counted as deposits in the LDR. Economists expect Indonesia's economic growth to slow down in the next few quarters as higher fuel prices drag on consumption. Slower growth is also expected to increase the chances that loans will turn sour. The central bank is targeting loan growth of 15-17 percent next year, up from a 13-14 percent rise estimated this year."



Please share this e-newsline with others interested in the development of Asia-Pacific.

For questions, comments, complaints please visit our online contact form

To change your email address or to unsubscribe from ADBI e-newsline please visit:
http://www.adbi.org/e-newsline/subscribe.php

Sign-up for ADBI's free e-notification service to ensure you receive an e-mail when we post new publications and opportunities.

Follow us on Twitter

Visit ADBI's blog ASIA PATHWAYS

The stories and links selected and the views expressed in e-Newsline are those of the authors and editors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the ADB Institute. The Institute does not endorse them and accepts no responsibility whatsoever for any consequences of their use. Original name usage is retained in quoted articles, although it may not necessarily follow ADB naming conventions.

Back to Top 
©1998-2014 Asian Development Bank Institute. All rights not expressly granted herein are reserved.