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Last Updated: Thursday, 8 February 2007, 13:09 GMT
Asia faces 'growing poverty gap'
By Bill Hayton
BBC News, Vietnam

A child in a makeshift house in Manila (file photo)
Millions remain in poverty, despite Asia's fast growing economies
The president of the Asian Development Bank has warned of increasing inequality across Asia.

Haruhiko Kuroda also called on governments to do more to address what he called a new kind of poverty.

At a conference in Vietnam, he told the BBC that China and India in particular were experiencing widening income gaps. Asia is home to many of the world's fastest growing economies - and that growth has lifted millions of people out of poverty.

But the benefits of growth have not been spread equally.

While many have become better off, many more remain left behind.

Widening income gap

Mr Kuroda said growth on its own was not enough to solve the continent's problems.

"Rapidly growing economies like China and India have shown that although absolute poverty has been reduced substantially, the income gap between the poor and the rich has widened," he said.

"That means that in coming years many Asian economies must be mindful of this big problem."

Mr Kuroda called on governments to spend more on health and education and improve conditions in rural areas to address the gaps between rich and poor.

He was speaking at the end of an international development conference in Hanoi, which brought together representatives of all the main providers of development assistance to find ways to ensure that aid money is better spent.

The process - known as Managing for Development Results - is intended to ensure that less money is wasted through mismanagement and corruption so that more can be spent on reducing poverty.

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