Wealth Gap Widening In Asia

Feb. 8, 2007
Rich are increasing faster than poor are decreasing.

The wealth gap in China and India is widening as the two new economic giants grow, the president of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) Haruhiko Kuroda warned Feb. 8. Asia is now in its second round of fast economic development, following the rise of the four original "Asian tigers," South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore, said Kuroda, speaking on the sidelines of a Hanoi aid conference.

But while the tigers had managed to share rising wealth relatively equally, he warned, "this time income inequality appears to be rising."

In population giants China and India and much of Southeast Asia, Kuroda said, "the poor people's income is increasing and absolute poverty is being reduced, but the income of the rich people is increasing much faster."

ADB president also warned that "with all the quite rapid growth, the environment is negatively affected in many developing Asian countries, including China and India."

Air and water pollution, soil damage, biodiversity loss and greenhouse gas emissions were on the rise in the region, he said, warning that "economies and societies will be seriously affected. The environment is crucial."

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2007

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