Vientiane, 5 May 2016
As nations begin implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the next phase of Asia-Pacific economic growth should be driven by broad-based productivity gains.
The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) emphasised in its flagship publication Economic and Social Survey for Asia and the Pacific 2016 that this will require higher, targeted fiscal spending, enhanced skills, better infrastructure, and improved agricultural productivity. The survey titled Nurturing Productivity for Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Development highlights that such a strategy will also improve the quality of economic growth towards more inclusiveness and sustainability.
Across the region, economies have been slowing down, due partly to a drop in productivity since 2008.
Lao PDR's economic growth decreased from an annual rate of almost 8 percent to 6.4% in 2015. This still high growth rate is mainly driven by hydropower and mining. The agricultural sector employs about two thirds of all workers, but the overall labour productivity is low. Economic diversification and increased industrialization remain a priorities. Development of tourism and labour-intensive manufacturing, such as garment production, will help expand employment opportunities.
ESCAP recommends that countries strengthen efforts to stimulate domestic and regional demand in order to bolster economic growth. For this, greater focus must be placed on enhancing productivity and increasing wages.
At today's launch of the Survey, by Dr. Leeber Leebouapao, Director General of the National Economic Research Institute mentioned that the Government is already taking steps towards fostering regional demand: "The 8th National Socio-Economic Development Plan will target regional investors to grow the economy and finance development goals."
"Productivity-led growth is crucial for all countries in the region in order to revive economic growth", said Mr. Alberto Isgut from ESCAP's Macroeconomic Policy and Development Division, who presented the Survey. "For Lao PDR, reducing inequalities through targeted social expenditures and economic diversification will be crucial. In the past, high economic growth has not sufficiently translated into poverty reduction."
NOTES FOR EDITORS:
Published annually, ESCAP's Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific monitors regional progress, providing analysis and guiding policy discussion on current and emerging socioeconomic issues and policy challenges to support inclusive and sustainable development in the region.
For a full copy of the survey visit: http://www.unescap.org/publications/economic-and-socialsurvey-
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Katie Elles, Public Information Officer, Strategic Communications and Advocacy Section,
Read the article in Lao here.