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ADB says Asia could become the next Europe

by Roderick T. dela Cruz
[ ] August 3, 2011

Asia is on track toward becoming the next Europe, a wealthy continent with a per capita income that is six times higher than Asia, if economies in the region continue to grow at the same recent trend, an Asian Development Bank report released Tuesday said.

The report said an additional 3 billion Asians could enjoy living standards similar to those in Europe today, and the region could account for over half of global output by the middle of this century.

“Asia is in the mid of a historic transformation. If it continues on its recent trajectory, by 2050 its per capita income could rise sixfold in purchasing power parity terms to reach Europe’s levels today. It would make some 3 billion additional Asians affluent by current standards,” it said.

The report said by nearly doubling Asia’s share of global gross domestic product to 52 percent by 2050, the region would regain the dominant economic position it held some 300 years ago before the industrial revolution.

To realize its potential by 2050, the report said Asia’s leaders must take bold, innovative action to sustain rapid growth and tackle growing inequalities, as well as address environmental challenges and the rising tide of urbanization.

It called on leaders from the region, which is home to over half of the world’s population, to confront a number of longer-term challenges if Asians are to take their place among the ranks of the affluent in Europe and North America.

The report, however, warned that fast-growing economies such as China, India, Vietnam and Indonesia could fall victim to the “middle-income trap.”

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