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Measuring the Poverty line in Developing East Asia and Pacific

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Piecing together the poverty puzzle means widening the ways in which we define and measure poverty, acknowledging that poverty is neither one-dimensional nor solely monetary in nature.

Broader measures include two higher-value poverty lines to complement the $1.90 international poverty line—$3.20 and $5.50/day, which are typical of standards among lower-middle and upper-middle income countries.

Poverty is a complex and multifaceted problem

In 2018, the number of poor in developing East Asia and Pacific at the $5.5 poverty line is almost 18 times more than at the $1.90 line.

Poverty exists in other forms that are not monetary; thus, a multi-dimensional poverty measure (MPM) is useful to assess deprivations in multiple aspects of life.

In developing East Asia and Pacific, the share of poor according to a multidimensional definition that includes consumption, education, and access to basic utilities is about 50 percent higher than monetary poverty based on the $1.9 poverty line.

As highlighted in this chapter, poverty is multi-faceted. A larger suite of poverty measures broadens our view and understanding of poverty in the developing East Asia and Pacific region.

Broader measures of poverty are important

As countries have grown economically, the yardstick for measuring extreme poverty based on the International Poverty Line (IPL)—$1.90/day 2011 PPP—has gradually become less relevant to the developing East Asia and Pacific region, which is today comprised exclusively of middle-income countries.

The more prosperous countries in the region, such as China, Malaysia, Mongolia, and Thailand have international poverty rates less than 1 percent.

However, many citizens in these countries would not believe that poverty does not exist.

Their conception of poverty and the standards of living they aspire to are much higher than what is benchmarked by the IPL. At the same time, poverty is a complex and multifaceted problem.

In addition to monetary deprivation, individuals may suffer from lack of access to basic infrastructure, education, and other critical services.

In line with these ideas, the World Bank has recently introduced new poverty measurements based on the recommendations of the Commission on Global Poverty, led by the late Professor Sir A. B. Atkinson, to consider complementary indicators to the core indicator of extreme poverty (World Bank 2017).

Higher poverty lines are needed in developing East Asia and Pacific

Given rising incomes and wealth over the past three decades, the IPL may now be too low to define whether someone is poor in developing East Asia and Pacific.

Higher international poverty lines are needed that are better suited to tracking progress and matching aspirations in more developed countries .

For people living in countries with higher overall income levels, there is value in monitoring progress with higher poverty lines that reflect the increasing costs of basic needs and services in a growing world.

https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/handle/10986/31500

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Economics

EEC Expects 300-billion-baht Investment This Year

National News Bureau of Thailand

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BANGKOK (NNT) – The Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) has expected investment to triple to 300 billion baht this year as investment projects previously held by the coronavirus outbreak get pushed forward again.

EEC Secretary -General Kanit Sangsubhan said actual investment in the EEC could be up from 96 billion baht in 2020, or 46% of total project applications as investors did not invest last year, and they would have to do it this year.

He said there will be a bunch of projects held up from previous years.

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Commerce Ministry sets Thailand’s export growth target at 4% for 2021

National News Bureau of Thailand

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BANGKOK (NNT) – Thailand has seen export growth of 0.35 percent in the first month of the year. The Commerce Minister has ordered the Department of International Trade Promotion to advance an action plan to accelerate growth, which is set at 4 percent this year.

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Has Covid-19 prompted the Belt and Road Initiative to go green?

Oxford Business Group

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Has Covid-19 prompted the Belt and Road Initiative to go green?
– Covid-19 led to a slowdown in BRI projects
– Chinese overseas investment dropped off in 2020
– Government remains committed to the wide-ranging infrastructure programme
– Sustainability, health and digital to be the new cornerstones of the initiative 

Following a year of coronavirus-related disruptions, China appears to be placing a greater focus on sustainable, digital and health-related projects in its flagship Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

As OBG outlined in April last year, the onset of Covid-19 prompted questions about the future direction of the BRI.

Launched in 2013, the BRI is an ambitious international initiative that aims to revive ancient Silk Road trade routes through large-scale infrastructure development.

By the start of 2020 some 2951 BRI-linked projects – valued at a total of $3.9trn – were planned or under way across the world.

However, as borders closed and lockdowns were imposed, progress stalled on a number of major BRI infrastructure developments.

In June China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that 30-40% of BRI projects had been affected by the virus, while a further 20% had been “seriously affected”. Restrictions on the flow of Chinese workers and construction supplies were cited as factors behind project suspensions or slowdowns in Pakistan, Cambodia and Indonesia, among other countries.

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