SINGAPORE, June 25, 2007 (AFP) – Poverty and education must remain on Asia’s agenda even as it forges ahead with high economic growth and focusses on tackling climate change, delegates to a regional economic forum heard Monday. .. While Asia is on a much stronger footing than it was during the economic crisis of a decade ago, officials here must remember that poverty remains a massive problem, Malaysia’s Second Finance Minister Nor Mohamed Yackop said.
“We should also not forget that Asia today is a continent of stark contrast,” he said in closing remarks to the two-day World Economic Forum on East Asia, attended by about 300 political and business leaders.
“We are home to the very rich, but we are also host to the very poor,” he said.
“We possess cutting edge technologies, but we also have very traditional and backward ways.
We must, no doubt, raise the development bar but we must also close the development gap within our countries as well as between our countries.”
Delegates to the meeting pointed out that despite rapid economic growth in China and India, much of the wealth created remained concentrated in urban areas, with the rural poor yet to reap any benefits.
Former Singapore prime minister