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Friday, 2 June, 2000, 19:25 GMT 20:25 UK
East Asian economy growing
Twin Towers in Malaysia
A strong international economy helped the region
A new World Bank report says that east Asia is again the world's fastest growing region but reforms are needed to sustain its dramatic recovery.

The region was the world's fastest growing emerging market prior to the economic crisis of 1997.

"Governments should be proud of the speed of recovery," said the bank's vice-president for the region, Jemal Ud-in Kassum.

"They have put in place new policies to rekindle growth and to ensure that the poor were protected."

The turnaround in regional trade, facilitated by the buoyant international economy, also contributed to the turnaround, the bank said.

The report notes, however, that recovery across the region the Asian region has been uneven, with South Korea surging ahead while Indonesia lagged behind.

The World Bank says that over the next few years, South Korea, China, Malaysia and Thailand could grow at between 5% and 7% a year. Indonesia and the Philippines could grow by 4% to 6%.

More investment needed

The World Bank said that the region's economic success depended on how well it succeeded in transforming its business, public and social institutions.


Indonesian currency notes
More investment is needed in the region
"Improving institutions is central to realising east Asia's potential," said the report's main author, Richard Newfarmer.

The report concludes that the pace and duration of the recovery depended on whether institutions could manage globalisation and deal with collapsed banks and corporations.

The report also called for governments to reduce their role and work more efficiently and forge "a new social contract" with their peoples.

World Bank officials denied they were foisting Western liberal thinking on the region.

The bank also said increased investment would clinch the region's recovery.

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See also:

26 Mar 00 | Business
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31 Mar 00 | Business
Asia learns its lessons
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