Even though millions in Asia have come out of extreme poverty due to economic
growth, there has also been a dramatic rise in income inequality, the United Nations
said in a report on Monday.
UN report was released to mark the midway point of a 15-year global development
plan - dubbed Millennium Development Goals - that targets improvements in various
social and economic indicators.
report said the greatest progress was made in East Asia, including China and South
Korea, where the proportion of people living in extreme poverty fell to 9.9 per
cent in 2004 from 33 per cent in 1990, in part because of rapid economic growth.
Asia, the ratio of people living in extreme poverty dropped to 6.8 per cent in
2004 from 20.8 per cent in 1990, according to the new statistics. Extreme poverty
is defined as an income the equivalent of $1 (euro0.74) a day, or less.
officials said Asia was on target to meet the goal of cutting extreme poverty
by half by 2015.
they added that there was a worrying trend in rising income inequality within
and among countries in the Asia-Pacific region.
share of income of the poorest 25 per cent of the population in the region declined
to 4.5 per cent in 2004 from 7.3 per cent in 1990, contrasting with sub-Saharan
Africa, where the share of income of the bottom 25 per cent remained the same
at 3.4 per cent.
success in achieving the millennium goals is also being hindered by a number of
challenges such as slow progress in improving child nutrition, gender inequality
and unplanned urbanization, said the report.
report said South and Southeast Asia are still among regions with the highest
percentage of children under five suffering from malnutrition.