BLOG SURF: Industrial growth

South Asian countries face a quandary: robust regional growth that clocked in at 6% a year over 20 years still sits side-by-side with a number of intractable development challenges.

Among them is finding well-paying jobs for a workforce of over 400 million, and which is expected to grow. The region is expected to account for 40% of the growth in the world’s working-age population until 2050.

Currently, around 50% of workers in India and 48% in Bangladesh are engaged in the agriculture sector, which is characterized by very low productivity.

At the same time, there is very little cross-border trade which also undermines economic growth and job creation.

South Asia is one of the least integrated subregions in the world; intra-regional trade stands at only 5.3% of total trade, compared to 7% in Central Asia, 26.6% in Southeast Asia, and 35.5% in East Asia.

Clearly, we need new ways to bring forth industrial development and create high-value jobs.