Asia lacks social benefits despite growth: ADB

SINGAPORE, August 23, 2011 (AFP) – Most Asian economies have not done enough to provide good jobs and adequate social benefits for their people, despite rapid economic growth over 20 years, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) said Tuesday. “Now is the time for us to think seriously about these kinds of issues because it’s going to become one of the important determinants for the long term sustainability of the region,” he said.

Poor social provision and the tensions it often produces could hamper the region’s long-term growth prospects, said the Manila-based lender, urging countries to tap their high savings to improve social safety nets.

Asia grew an average 6.4 percent per year between 1990 and 2008, much faster than the rest of the world, including developed countries in the OECD, which expanded by an average 1.8 percent in the same period.

The growth has led to a higher number of Asians finding jobs and 150 million people being hauled out of poverty, the ADB said.

But job creation and poverty reduction have been very uneven across the region, it said.

“Asia continues its high and resilient growth of the last two decades, but behind this rosy picture, we have to remember that progress is uneven,” ADB chi