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Trade and Poverty Reduction in the Asia-Pacific Region

image of Trade and Poverty Reduction in the Asia-Pacific Region

This book explores the complex relationship between international trade and poverty reduction through a combination of research papers and contemporary case studies. Written mainly by developing-country authors in consultation with local businesses and communities, the case studies contribute to our understanding of the ways in which low-income communities are dealing with trade as a practical challenge, especially in the Asia-Pacific region where approximately two-thirds of the world’s poor live. While making it clear that there is no ‘one size fits all’ formula, the research and stories highlight a number of necessary preconditions, such as political commitment and cooperation at all levels, if trade is to successfully reduce poverty. Openness to trade, serious commitment to domestic reform, trade-related capacity building, a robust and responsible private sector and access to the markets of developed countries are all identified as powerful tools for building trade-related sustainable development.

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Agriculture and trade solutions for rural poverty

Nearly 70% of the world’s poor live in rural areas, and most depend on agriculture for their livelihoods (World Bank 2007b). In many poor countries, agriculture accounts for at least 40% of gross domestic product (GDP) and 80% of employment. Thus agriculture plays a potentially crucial role in poverty reduction strategies. During the Green Revolution (in the 1960s and 1970s), development and aid communities stressed the relevance of this sector as an engine of growth for countries with a high proportion of rural population. However, in the 1980s and 1990s the attention given to agricultural policies as catalysts for development and poverty reduction decreased significantly. Currently, agriculture is once again on the forefront of development debate, as recent work on the role of agriculture in development has confirmed the importance of this sector in reducing poverty (World Bank 2007b, von Braun 2007, Food and Agriculture Organisation 2005).

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