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Southeast Asian Economic Outlook 2013

With Perspectives on China and India

image of Southeast Asian Economic Outlook 2013

This edition of the Southeast Asian Economic Outlook examines medium-term growth prospects, recent macroeconomic policy challenges, and structural challenges including human capital, infrastructure and SME development.  It also looks at economic disparities “between” and “within” countries in the region.  It provides coverage for Brunei, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam.

While solid growth is forecast to continue until 2017, countries must address structural issues in order to sustain this favourable outlook. Narrowing development gaps presents one of the region’s most important challenges.

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Poverty and inequality disparities in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Viet Nam

OECD Development Centre

This chapter considers how and if economic reform in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Viet Nam (CLMV) has reduced poverty and income inequality. It opens with a brief introductory section that puts CLMV in a regional context and outlines the themes the chapter addresses. The section on the CLMV experience of poverty and inequality – country by country – examines each country in turn, sketching its history from independence, its experience of war, and its transition from a centrally planned people’s democracy to a market economy in the 1980s and 1990s. In this respect, Myanmar is an exception as it is only now ushering in its first tentative reforms. Cambodia, Lao PDR and Viet Nam, however, have effectively rebuilt and reaped the benefits. Their export-driven economic growth has been strong. Cambodia and Viet Nam have diversified their economies away from agriculture and both are currently fostering eco-tourism and new green industries. All three have reduced poverty – Viet Nam by half. Income disparities, however, persist between men and women, urban areas and rural regions, and ethnic groups. Inequality has actually widened in Lao PDR. CLMV have much to do to ensure development is inclusive and sustainable: further build infrastructure and institutional capacity, widen equitable access to education and employment, make the business environment investor-friendly, invest in human capital, nurture small and medium-sized enterprises, weed out corruption. The section on CLMV countries briefly compares the four countries and their performance in reducing poverty and inequality. Myanmar is a constant exception, principally because so little data are available. However, the final section “Conclusion”, also applies to Myanmar: economic growth does not of itself deliver equally shared benefits for all.

English

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