World Economic Situation and Prospects 2018 launched in New Delhi
An upturn in the global economy, now growing by about 3 per cent, paves the way to reorient policy towards longer-term issues, such as addressing climate change, tackling existing inequalities and removing institutional obstacles to development, according to the United Nations World Economic Situation and Prospects (WESP) 2018, launched on 11 December 2017.
At the launch,this annual flagship publication of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs was released to the media in New Delhi. The WESP is prepared in collaboration with other United Nations Departments, including the five Regional Commissions, of which ESCAP is one and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.
According to the report, in 2017, world economic growth has reached 3 per cent – the highest growth since 2011 – as crisis-related fragilities and the adverse effects of other recent shocks subside. The pickup stems predominantly from firmer growth in several developed economies, although East and South Asia remain the world’s most dynamic subregions, accounting for nearly half of global growth. China alone contributed about one third.
Professor N. R. Bhanumurthy, from the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy, New Delhi and Mr. Michael Williamson, Head, ESCAP South and South West Asia office jointly presented the Report to the media in New Delhi, highlighting findings of particular relevance to the subregion.
“South Asia’s economic outlook remains steady and favourable; the regional GDP growth is expected to strengthen to 6.5% in 2018 and 7% in 2019,” Mr. Williamson noted underscoring that the positive economic outlook was widespread across the subregion. He noted that the outlook for India too remained positive due to strong private consumption, robust public investment and structural reforms. Growth in Pakistan is also expected to remain vigorous, although a rising current account deficit poses risks to baseline projections. Bangladesh economy is projected to continue expanding at rapid pace, underpinned by strong domestic demand.
Despite an overall bright picture for South Asia, several downside risks and challenges exist, such as heightened geopolitical tensions that may restrain investment, the report notes. The region needs to address structural issues to unleash its growth potential and promote a more sustained and inclusive development path, according to the report.
Professor Bhanumurthy provided an Indian perspective to the report and emphasized that findings from the report corroborated those of the Reserve Bank of India. He noted that the challenges that emerged for the Indian economy were largely tied to the link between private and public investments, that there was a need to increase public investments to boost private investment.
The media launch of the Report in Delhi was organized jointly with the UNIC for India and Bhutan. It brought together over 30 media representatives and generated extensive media coverage. The discussions and ensuing question-answer with the press were moderated by UNIC Rajiv Chandran.