L’autre Asie

WASHINGTON – L’Asie du sud constitue un paradoxe déprimant. C’est une des régions dont la croissance est l’une des plus rapide au monde, mais c’est aussi là que se trouve la plus importante concentration de population vivant dans la pauvreté la plus débilitante, les conflits et la misère humaine. Alors que l’Asie du sud est bien plus développée que l’Afrique sub-saharienne, et que l’Inde (le plus grand pays de la région) est parvenue au statut de pays aux revenus intermédiaires inférieurs, l’Asie du sud compte bien plus de pauvres que l’Afrique sub-saharienne.

Cela pose la grande question de savoir si la meilleure manière d’échapper à la pauvreté serait une croissance économique générale ou une attaque directe contre la pauvreté. La réponse est fonction du point de vue adopté. Une croissance prodigieuse masque de larges poches de pauvreté. Pour les pays de l’Asie du sud, la pauvreté est passée d’un problème national à un problème sous-national.  

Bien que la croissance économique ait permis de réduire le taux de pauvreté en Asie du sud, il n’a pas suffisamment baissé pour diminuer le nombre total de pauvres. Le nombre de personnes vivant avec moins de 1,25 dollar par jour est passé de 549 millions en 1981 à 595 millions en 2005. En Inde, qui compte pour presque trois-quarts de cette population, les chiffres sont passés de 420 millions à 455 millions pendant cette période. Outre la lenteur du rythme de réduction de la pauvreté, le rythme du développement humain n’a pas non plus suivi la courbe ascendante des revenus.

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