This volume examines the dichotomy between the two faces of South Asiaߟone poverty stricken and lagging in development, the other highly urbanized and growing rapidlyߟand tries to find a workable solution to bridge this gap. It looks at the many policy and institutional constraints that contribute to this dichotomy, especially regional conflict that has made South Asia one of the least integrated regions of the world.

Making Regional Cooperation Work for South Asia's Poor

Making regional cooperation work for South Asia's poor
SadiqAhmed and EjazGhani1

Introduction

South Asia continues to grow rapidly, and its largest economy, India, approached near double-digit growth in 2006–07. This is a remarkable transformation of a region whose countries have been infamously dubbed a “basket case.” Well up to the late 1970s, South Asia, which includes eight countries—Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka—was known for conflict, violence, and widespread and extreme poverty. In the initial years after independence, the South Asian countries adopted import substitution growth strategies with heavy trade protection, curbed the growth of private firms, and introduced restrictive labor laws to protect workers. After some 30 years, the outcome of these policies turned out ...

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