Map of Asia

Between wealth and poverty


    Asia is a continent with very different economic, social and political developments: China and India have long since become important players on the global stage. Other countries such as Nepal and Tajikistan, on the other hand, have so far benefited little from the economic progress in the region. The development of poverty rates in Asia paints a mixed picture: Poverty rates are falling in East Asia and South Asia - this is mainly due to China. Overall, only around 29 million people in East Asia still live in absolute poverty, compared to 209 million people in populous South Asia. They have less than USD 2.15 per capita per day to live on.

    The political situation varies greatly from country to country: India, with around 1.4 billion people, is considered the largest democracy and is now the most populous country in the world, with Indonesia, which is also democratically organised, in fourth place. At the same time, there are politically unstable states with ongoing armed conflicts such as Myanmar and Pakistan, while the Indo-Pacific and the Central Asian region are increasingly becoming the theatre of geopolitical aspirations. Human rights violations are the order of the day in some countries, women and disabled people are disadvantaged, ethnic minorities are persecuted or expelled.

    The rapid economic upturn in East, Central, South-East and South Asia is putting a strain on the environment. In large cities such as Jakarta, the soil is sinking due to the excessive extraction of groundwater and wastewater is often not sufficiently treated. Delhi in India is one of the cities with the highest levels of air pollution in the world. In Central Asia, there is a considerable backlog of investment in climate and environmentally friendly social infrastructure. With China, India, Japan, Iran, South Korea, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia, seven Asian countries are among the world's ten largest CO2 emitters. India plays a key role in solving global climate protection challenges, as it still meets its high energy needs primarily with fossil fuels such as coal. Whether climate neutrality can be achieved worldwide will therefore largely be decided in Asia.

    On behalf of the German Federal Government, KfW Development Bank is working with numerous countries in Asia to protect the climate and environment, combat poverty and drive forward important health and social reforms: This includes the increased use of renewable energies and energy efficiency, the promotion of mobility and climate-resilient infrastructure in cities and the protection of biodiversity. Efficient financial institutions are promoted to support small and medium-sized enterprises in order to create jobs.

    KfW Development Bank pledged EUR 2.0 billion for the countries of Asia in 2023.

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