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Reduced corruption key to Asia’s rise: ADB

HANOI, May 4, 2011 (AFP) – Reducing corruption and improving government accountability are the greatest challenges to making Asia the world’s wealthiest region by 2050, the Asian Development Bank said Wednesday. The continent is undergoing a historic transformation, according to a study for the bank unveiled at its annual meeting in Vietnam.

“If it continues to grow on its recent trajectory, it could, by 2050, account for more than half of global gross domestic product (GDP), trade and investment, and enjoy widespread affluence,” the report said.

Asia’s proportion of global GDP, rising from 27 percent last year, would match its share of global population and a per capita income of $38,600 would leave the region as well off as Europe is today, it said.

Countries from the Pacific Ocean to Central Asia face many challenges if they are to achieve this, but underlying them all is a need for stronger institutions of governance, says the report, which is aimed at regional policymakers and business leaders.

“The recent deterioration in the quality and credibility of national political and economic institutions (illustrated by rising corruption) is a serious concern”, says the bank, which will issue a

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