houses near concrete road

ADB Raises Concerns Over Inflation Crisis and Soaring Cost of Living, Exacerbating Severe Poverty Across Asia

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has issued a stark warning through its latest report unveiled on August 24, highlighting the escalating crisis stemming from the surge in the cost of living, predominantly fueled by inflation over the past year. Coupled with the persisting repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic, this phenomenon is thrusting an alarming number of individuals in Asia and the Pacific into the depths of extreme poverty.

The ADB has published the “Key Indicators for Asia and the Pacific 2023” report on its official website, shedding light on the dire situation at hand. The report underscores that a staggering 155.2 million people in developing nations across Asia and the Pacific now find themselves entrenched in extreme poverty. This figure represents 3.9% of the region’s total population, marking a distressing increase of 67.8 million from the pre-pandemic era. For reference, extreme poverty is defined as living on less than $2.15 per day (approximately 75 baht per day).

Commenting on the report’s findings, the Director of ADB remarked, “While Asia and the Pacific are in the process of recovering from the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic, the intensifying crisis surrounding the rising cost of living necessitates the bolstering of social safety nets for the vulnerable. Moreover, there’s a pressing need to expedite investments and innovation to foster avenues for growth, employment, and effective governance.

“The report emphasizes that the brunt of the cost of living crisis has disproportionately fallen on individuals already living in poverty. Their incapability to afford the progressively costly essentials, including food and fuel, has been acutely distressing. Simultaneously, the escalating prices of staple foods and essential services have left them grappling with an inability to save, cover healthcare expenses, or invest in education—undermining their prospects for long-term improvement in living standards. Notably, women have been identified as more susceptible to income disparities than men and have even been subjected to uncompensated labor.

Looking ahead, the ADB projects that economies within developing Asia and the Pacific will continue strides toward poverty eradication. However, the forecast is sobering, estimating that by 2030, around 30.3% of the region’s populace—equivalent to approximately 1.26 billion individuals—could find themselves categorized within economically vulnerable segments. This group will subsist on an income ranging from $3.65 to $6.85 per day (approximately 127-239 baht per day), based on 2017 price levels.

In light of these distressing revelations, the ADB advocates for immediate action. The bank suggests that governments across Asia and the Pacific fortify social protection systems, enhance support for agricultural advancement, broaden individuals’ access to financial services, prioritize investments, elevate infrastructure development, and champion technological innovation. Additionally, fostering human capital development is emphasized as an imperative step toward mitigating the growing crisis associated with the surging cost of living.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: