Development in Asia is more diverse than on any other continent: China and India have been key global players on the international economic and political stage for quite some time. Economic progress in the region, on the other hand, has not been of much benefit to other countries like Nepal or Tajikistan. Asia as a whole is very economically dynamic and has high rates of growth. Poverty rates are declining in East Asia overall – which can be primarily attributed to China's economic success. In East Asia only about 53 million people are still living in absolute poverty, while in South Asia there are 288 million people in this category. They have less than 1.90 USD per capita and day to live on.
The political situation in the individual countries is extremely diverse: India is considered the "largest democracy" in the world but, at the same time, there are politically unstable nations, some with ongoing armed conflicts such as Afghanistan and Pakistan. Human rights violations are prevalent in some countries, women face discrimination and ethnic minorities are persecuted or evicted.
The rapid economic upswing in East and South Asia is also increasingly damaging the environment. In large cities such as Jakarta, too much groundwater is extracted; causing the ground to sink and sewage is often not adequately treated. Smog and smog alerts are everyday occurrences in Delhi and Peking. Throughout Asia, huge swathes of forest are cleared every year which contributes to climate change. In Bangladesh, large areas are covered in water time and again during severe climate-related flooding.
KfW Development Bank works with many countries in Asia on behalf of the German Federal Government to fight poverty and climate change and protect the environment: these efforts include increasing the use of renewable energy sources and preserving biodiversity. Support is provided for efficient financial institutions that help small and medium-sized enterprises create jobs. In countries affected by conflict and crisis, KfW is active in conflict prevention and peacekeeping and provides support for "good governance". KfW Development Bank pledged around EUR 2.9 billion to Asian countries in 2019.