South Asia remains the fastest-growing region in the world, gradually widening its lead relative to East Asia, says a World Bank report.
The Regional GDP growth is expected to rise from 6.7 percent in 2016 to 6.8 percent in 2017, and 7.1 percent in 2018, says the new World Bank report “South Asia Economic Focus, Spring 2017 : Globalization Backlash.”
The report explores whether South Asian countries should worry about mounting protectionist pressures. It concludes, “Despite possible protectionism, the fastest-growing region in the world has an opportunity to increase exports and create jobs.”
Moreover, South Asian economies also stand to gain from the recovery in advanced economies, which are their largest export markets, says the report.
Given its weight in the region, India sets the pace for South Asia as a whole. Its GDP growth is expected to accelerate to 7.2 percent in 2018, after expanding by a slightly lower than expected 6.8 percent in 2016, with a temporary disruption from the withdrawal of large denomination bank notes.
Surprisingly, the report portrays Pakistan in good light and says “Based on tangible improvements in security, Pakistan continues its upward trend and growth is expected to accelerate to over 5 percent this year.”
According to the report, Bangladesh industrial production reached a record-high recently and growth remains strong.