The Asian Development Bank (ADB) said in a report released Thursday that 1.6 billion people in Asia-Pacific are at risk of being pushed back into extreme poverty.
The Manila-based lender said the 1.6 billion people who subsist on less than USD 2 a day remain vulnerable to shocks.
“They are constantly at risk of being pushed back into extreme poverty through loss of employment, health problems, prolonged recession, inflation, crop failure, disasters or social upheaval,” the ADB said in a report.
The report, which assessed ADB’s long-term strategic framework dubbed as Strategy 2020, noted that high food prices are a major source of vulnerability. It added that sharp increases in food prices affect the poor who devote more than half of their income to food.
ADB noted that Asia-Pacific is home to 60 percent of the world’s extreme poor. Around 733 million people in Asia-Pacific continue to live on USD 1.25 a day — the threshold for extreme poverty.
“The challenge for ADB is to help developing member-countries eradicate remaining poverty, support greater inclusiveness to address inequalities, and become more relevant and effective in middle-income countries,” said ADB President Takehiko Nakao.
The Manila-based lender said it is realigning its operations to emphasize inclusiveness, build resilience and strengthen support for middle-income countries.
The report identified 10 strategic priorities for ADB to “sharpen and rebalance” its operations and strengthen its responsiveness to the changing business environment as well as increase its capacity and effectiveness.
ADB said it will continue to focus on infrastructure as it plays a “critical” role in reducing poverty and promoting inclusive growth. The Manila-based lender said it will also double its investments in health and education. PNA