DUSHANBE , April 7, Asia-Plus - Central Asia will maintain its rapid economic expansion with GDP growth in the region projected at 10.3% in 2006 and 9.8% in 2007, according to a report released by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) on April 6 says.  The region grew 10.9% in 2005, according to the report.

            According to information from the ADB Mission in Tajikistan , the 2006 edition of ADB’s annual economic publication “Asian Development Outlook” ( ADO ) forecasts overall growth for the 43 countries of developing Asia of 7.2% in 2006 and 7% in 2007. 

            Regional inflation is expected to rise slightly to about 7.9% in 2006, but the current account is now expected to post a strong surplus due to high oil prices.

Many Central Asian economies are benefiting from a range of reform measures under way. But the overall picture masks a large gap between growth in the oil-producing nations and the rest.  As a region, Central Asia would benefit most from an aggressive campaign to remove barriers to trade and foster closer economic cooperation

            ADO 2006 notes that GDP growth in Tajikistan slowed to 6.7% in 2005 due mainly to falling cotton production and deterioration in the terms of trade.  The outlook is for a recovery in activity with GDP growth projected at 8% in 2006 and then moderating to 6% in 2007.  Progress has been made in implementing a poverty reduction and growth strategy in recent years, despite the legacy of weak institutional capacity and a limited resource base. Medium-term economic prospects are promising in view of the start of major foreign-invested projects and intensified efforts to advance structural reforms.

ABOUT: ADB, based in Manila , is dedicated to reducing poverty in the Asia and Pacific region through pro-poor sustainable economic growth, social development, and good governance. Established in 1966, it is owned by 64 members – 46 from the region.  In 2005, it approved loans and technical assistance totalling $5.8 billion and $198.8 million, respectively.