Since 2014, South Asia has been the fastest growing sub-region in the world, with its eight economies collectively boasting average annual growth of 7.0%. This is higher than East Asia (6.2%), which includes China; Southeast Asia (4.9%); and the Pacific (4.7%). This strong growth in South Asia has been largely driven by the performance of Bangladesh and India, with growth averaging above 7% in the past five years. Bhutan and Maldives grew by more than 6%, while Nepal, the second poorest nation in South Asia after Afghanistan, grew a little below 5% on average from 2014 to 2018 due to the earthquake in 2016.
A continued annual growth of 7% will double the size of South Asian economies in 10 years. This will help significantly reduce the poor population of more than 200 million living below the international poverty line of $1.9 per day per capita. To maintain such a growth rate and remain the fastest growing sub-region in the world, South Asia cannot afford to rest on its laurels. It will prosper only if the sub-region continues economic reforms, maintains macroeconomic stability, and fosters greater cooperation and integration among neighbors.

By Lei Lei Song
Principal Economist of the Asian Development (ADB)



Taken from an article in the Daily News: