India, China join world’s top five, become donors

April 12th, 2008 - 10:52 am ICT by admin  

By Arun Kumar
Washington, April 12 (IANS) With India and China among the top five economies, developing countries now produce 41 percent of the world’s output, up from 36 percent in 2000, according to the World Development Indicators (WDI) 2008. Measured at gross national income, the United States is still the largest economy, producing $13.2 trillion worth of goods and services; but China is number two, and India is number four, a senior world bank official said Friday.

“So we have two developing countries in the top five, and we have three more in the top 12,” noted Eric Swanson, programme manager, World Bank Development Data Group, taking it as a pointer to growth of the developing world and its movement into the global economy.

The aid landscape too is changing rapidly as developing countries such as China and India are becoming donors even as traditional donors remain the dominant source of development aid, the WDI report noted.

The combined output of the world’s economies reached $59 trillion in 2006. Strong growth over the period has increased the shares of all developing regions except Latin America and the Caribbean, while the share of high-income economies fell by five percent.

This year’s World Development Indicators (WDI) introduces new estimates of purchasing power parity (PPP) allow more accurate comparisons of market size, the structure of economies, and what money can buy.

“We live in a world of highly interdependent markets for goods, services, finance, labour, and ideas,” said Alan Gelb, Acting World Bank Chief Economist and Senior Vice President for Development Economics.

“When we measure economies on a comparable global scale, the growing clout of developing countries comes into sharp relief.”

“The goal of the WDI is to present a comprehensive picture of the world using the best statistical evidence available,” he told reporters ahead of the World Bank-International Monetary Fund Spring Meetings here over the weekend.

“The World Development Indicators allows us to view development not just in terms of economic outputs, but also through the welfare of people, the condition of the environment, and the quality of governance,” said Swanson.

World Development Indicators 2008 (WDI) provides a detailed picture of the world through data. It includes, for example, information on health expenditures, on transport and other infrastructure services, on the quality of public sector management, on Internet access, on access to improved water sources, and on carbon dioxide emissions.

While much progress has been made in reducing child malnutrition in the developing world, it remains widespread in many countries, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia where severe to moderate stunting affects as many as 35 percent of children under five.

South Asia has the highest incidence of child malnutrition; the child malnutrition rate in India is double the African average, the report said.

The WDI draws on a database of over 1,000 indicators covering 209 countries and territories, but there are still serious gaps, especially in statistics from poor countries.

“Statistics are fundamental,” says Shaida Badiee, Director of the Development Data Group. “Without reliable statistics, there is no accountability. Improving the quality of development statistics is a long-term effort that is now receiving growing support from our development partners.”

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