Developing Asia is facing its most challenging year since the 1997- 1998 financial crisis. The collapse of world trade resulting from the global economic crisis is having a profound effect on manufacturing in the region. The slowdown is creating challenges for rural households as non-agricultural employment disappears. Quick responses from the region's policy-makers ought to mitigate the impact of the crisis.
Fiscal stimulus packages can play an essential role. Public investment projects such as rural infrastructure (rural roads, irrigation facilities, rural power), public transportation and low-cost housing, coupled with well-designed safety net programmes, can create jobs, reduce poverty and promote growth.
The Asian Development Bank has responded to the crisis by increasing its agriculture and rural development investments in developing Asia to USD two billion in 2009.
Joseph E. Zveglich, Jr.
Economics and Research Department Asian Development Bank