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Energy use lowest in South Asia

April 21, 2012

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ISLAMABAD, April 20: The per capita energy use in South Asia remains the lowest among all developing regions even after an increase of 51 per cent from 340 to 514 kilograms of oil equivalent between 1990 and 2009, reveals new statistics released by the World Bank on Friday.

But the structure of fuel use is also changing, and South Asia now relies more on fossil fuels and less on combustible renewables and waste, according to the World Development Indicators (WDI-2012).

World Development Indicators 2012 is a compilation of relevant, high-quality, and internationally comparable statistics about development and the quality of people’s lives.

Economic growth and energy use move together and high-income economies use nearly four times as much energy per capita as middle-income economies and more than 13 times as much as low-income economies. With only 16 per cent of the world’s population, high-income economies use about half of the world’s energy production each year.

The report points out that South Asia has the second lowest business start-up costs among developing regions. In just four years, the cost of starting a business in South Asia has dropped almost in half from 41 percent of GNI per capita in 2007 to 22 per cent in 2011.

Countries such as Maldives, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka were already relatively low cost in 2007, but they lowered business start-up costs even farther by 2011, dropping to 11 per cent of GNI per capita in Pakistan, 9 per cent in Maldives, and 5 percent in Sri Lanka.

The indicators show that the proportion of people living on less than $1.25 a day fell from 43.1 per cent in 1990 to 22.2 per cent in 2008.

While the food, fuel, and financial crises over the past four years have worsened the situation of vulnerable populations and slowed poverty reduction in some countries, global poverty rates have continued to fall.

Between 2005 and 2008 both the poverty rate and the number of people living in extreme poverty fell in all six developing country regions, the first time that has happened.

According to preliminary estimates for 2010, the extreme poverty rate fell further, reaching the global target of the MDGs of halving world poverty five years early.

Following strong growth of 8 per cent a year in 2009 and 2010, South Asia’s GDP growth slowed to 6.6 per cent in 2011, marked by a pronounced fall-off in industrial production, well below most other developing regions. The slowdown reflects numerous headwinds, both internal and external.