chapter  15
Trade orientation, growth and poverty
What have we learned from the Asian experience?
ByKishor Sharma, Gamini Herath
Pages 5

Asian developing countries, together with many developing countries in Africa and Latin America, have seen waves of reforms since the mid-1970s when the failure of an inward-oriented development strategy in sustaining growth came under attack in the early 1970s. It was thought that an outward-looking development strategy (also known as economic liberalisation) would create better incentives for sustaining growth and thereby reduce poverty and inequality. However, the experiences from many developing countries including South Asia suggest that significant poverty alleviation has not yet been achieved despite liberalisation reforms. While East Asia has made noticeable achievements in alleviating poverty and inequality, in South Asia it still remains a major development challenge. For example, about 40 per cent of the people in South Asia live below the poverty line as against 15 per cent in East Asia. This figure is even higher for Sub-Saharan African countries. Globally about 24 per cent of the people live in poverty.