External Financing in South Asia: The Remittances Option
Despite the notable improvements in the economic climates and growth prospects of many developing economies in Asia, poverty remains a complex and persistent issue confronting policymakers even today. Poverty estimates published by the World Bank in 2008 reveal that nearly 1.4 billion people in the developing world were living on less than US$ 1.25 a day in 2005. 1 While acknowledging that there has been considerable progress in reducing poverty levels – the corresponding numbers in absolute poverty were about 1.9 billion in 1981 – a lot more remains to be done in order to ensure that the benefits of economic growth are more evenly distributed in order to eradicate poverty worldwide. Despite rapid growth in India and other regional economies, the World Bank data reveals that South Asia alone housed some 600 million people living on less than US$ 1.25 a day in 2005 in comparison to 550 million people in 1981. In India, using the same yardstick, the poverty levels actually increased from 420 million people in 1981 to 455 million in 2005 (though declining as a share of population).