Growth in Developing Asia was maintained at 6.3% in 2013, marginally below the 6.4% posted in 2012, reflecting mainly the slowdown in China, India and Southeast Asia. In China, output moderated slightly to 7.6%, as the country restructured its growth model to embrace more sustainable development. Growth in India accelerated only slightly by 0.5%, affected by low activity in the manufacturing and services sectors, as well as monetary tightening which adversely affected domestic demand.
The majority of countries in Asia have met several MDGs ahead of time, including those targets relating to poverty reduction, universal primary education, gender equality, HIV and TB, safe drinking water and environmental sustainability. However, the progress made in reducing child mortality and malnourishment and in improving maternal health will probably not be enough to meet the deadline. With around 800 million people still living on less than US$1.25 a day, the region is home to the majority of the world’s absolute poor. It also represents the largest share of energy poor in the world, with a total of 615 million people lacking access to electricity.
Since its inception, OFID has worked consistently to help improve living conditions and opportunities among its Asian partners, welcoming a new country, Timor Leste, to its network in 2013. The region attracted just over 23% of aggregate approvals for the year, receiving some US$359.8m for activities in 27 of its 40 partner countries. Reflecting perceived priorities, the energy and financial sectors together accounted for 74% of the total.
The bulk of the financing (40.8%) was delivered in concessional public sector lending, with resources totaling US$146.9m supporting projects in the transportation, energy, and water supply and sanitation sectors. Also included in this sum was US$50m towards the fourth phase of Yemen’s Social Fund for Development, which targets the basic needs of the poor and vulnerable.
Trade financing accounted for 29.7% of the year’s commitments to the region, and comprised credit lines to banks in Armenia, Georgia, Mongolia, Turkey and Papua New Guinea, primarily to support the import and export funding needs of SMEs.
Additionally, a total of US$95m was approved through the private sector window, the lion’s share of it for large-scale energy investments, including a power plant in Bangladesh, a wind farm in Jordan, and a refinery and petrochemical complex in Vietnam. Lines of credit valued at US$10m each went to microfinance institutions in Azerbaijan and Cambodia for on-lending to MSMEs.
Grant financing amounting to US$11.4m was shared between Yemen - for a solar water heater scheme - and Palestine, where the funds will help improve maternal healthcare in Gaza and support a scholarship scheme for Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.