NEW DELHI, May 4 (Xinhua) -- The Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Saturday expressed confidence to overcome numerous challenges faced by Asia in its development, such as poverty, inequality, gender issues and environment protection.
ADB President Takehika Nakao said at the opening session of ADB 's annual meeting here that Asia is now seeing both external and internal problems in its development after a few decades of rapid growth of around 8 percent.
He said while the trend of development and growth in Asia is irreversible, Asian countries need to make a lot of efforts to overcome some major challenges -- staggering poverty in some countries, environment damages, income inequality, and declining demand for its products in global market.
"I here express my optimism to meet these challenges by working together," he said when addressing the 46th Annual Meeting of Board of Governors of the Manila-based bank here.
The ADB governor said to achieve the goal of sustainable growth and empowerment of its people, Asia should focus on three areas: innovations, inclusion and integration.
He warned against a "middle income trap" in some middle level developed Asian societies which could harm innovations. The " middle income trap" refers to risk of economies not achieving their full growth potential.
By pushing forward innovation, Asian countries should promote both private and state sectors of the economy, infrastructure investment, research, education, rule of law, government accountability, property rights and greener and clearer economy, he pointed out.
As for inclusion, he cited Indian Nobel Prize laureate Amitya Sen as saying that empowerment of the people is the best way to achieve development. It includes working for income equality, gender equality, access to education, social safety network and investment in human capital.
Nakao also called on Asian countries to continue the momentum of building regional economic integration which he said has already been yielding positive results through various projects such as the Mekong Sub-regional Project.