ADB says 3 billion Asians may reach Europe-level incomes by '50

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Asia's growth can propel three billion people to affluent levels by 2050 should policy makers successfully narrow inequalities and avoid falling into a so- called middle-income trap, the Asian Development Bank said.

 Successful national and regional policies may boost Asia's gross domestic product to $148 trillion by mid-century, making up 51 percent of global output in 2050, the Manila-based lender said in a report Wednesday.

In another scenario, where countries such as China, India, Indonesia and Vietnam fall into a trap of slowing growth and stagnating income in the next decade, and others fail to boost their growth, the region would account for 32 percent, or $61 trillion, of global GDP in 2050, it said.

"As Asia leads the world out of recession, the global economy's center of gravity is once again shifting toward the region," ADB President Haruhiko Kuroda said. "The transformation under way has the potential to generate per capita income levels in Asia similar to those found in Europe today. By the middle of this century, Asia could account for half of global output, trade, and investment, while also enjoying widespread affluence."

Asia must modernize its governance systems and remake its institutions to ensure transparency, accountability, and the enforceability of rules and regulations, the ADB said.

The region's long-term competitiveness will depend heavily on how it controls the intensity of its resource use, including water and food, it said.

"To meet these challenges, Asian leaders need to devise bold and innovative national policies while pursuing regional and global cooperation to successfully manage regional public goods, energy security, infrastructure connectivity, food supplies and water resources, and to maintain long-term peace and stability," the ADB said.

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