World Bank Group in South Asia
South Asia has experienced a long period of robust economic growth, averaging 6 percent a year over the past 20 years. This strong growth has translated into declining poverty and impressive improvements in human development. The percentage of people living on less than $1.25 a day fell in South Asia from 61 percent to 36 percent between 1981 and 2008. The proportion of poor is lower now in South Asia than any time since 1981.
Still, the South Asia region is home to many of the developing world's poor. According to the World Bank's most recent estimates, about 571 million people in the region survive on less than $1.25 a day, and they make up more than 44 percent of the developing world's poor.
South Asia has a young population and one of the lowest female participation rates in the labor force. As a result of this "demographic dividend," more workers will be entering the labor force in the future, and the region will need to add between 1 and 1.2 million additional jobs every month for the next 20 years to accommodate them. Creating jobs for these new workers will contribute to growth, equity, and peace in the region. It also provides a road map for accelerating growth and fostering human development.
SOUTH ASIA REGION SNAPSHOT
World Bank in South Asia
The World Bank is a significant development partner in South Asia. The Bank approved $10.5 billion for the region for 42 projects in fiscal 2014. Support included $2.1 billion in IBRD loans and $8.5 billion in IDA commitments. The leading sectors were Energy and Mining ($2.4 billion); Transportation ($2.3 billion); and Education ($1.4 billion).
The Bank's Country Partnership Strategy for India (2013-17) aims to help India achieve its long-term vision of faster, more inclusive growth. As the first country strategy to set specific goals for reducing poverty and increasing prosperity for the poorest people, it significantly shifts support toward low-income and special-category states, where many of India's poor and disadvantaged live.