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25 or less a day and 1 For details, see Chapter 3 of this book. 8 billion people who manage on less than $2 a day (Bauer et al. 2008). 5 billion Asians lack access to decent sanitation, 640 million have no access to clean water, and 930 million are without electricity—over 700 million of them in South Asia alone (ADB 2007b). Only 3 in 10 Asians have access to a telephone, and a little under half of the region’s roads are unpaved. A more detailed overview of Asia’s existing infrastructure is provided in Chapter 2.

R Regional infrastructure cooperation can also add value to national policymaking by sharing knowledge and best practices and by highlighting priorities that may run counter to domestic special interests. r Asia’s investment in regional infrastructure should support its shift to a greener, low-carbon economy. Given Asia’s vast need for energy and its impact on the climate challenge, future energy supply plans, especially for power generation, need to shift towards a greater emphasis on energy efficiency and renewable energy sources.

While parts of the region’s infrastructure are world-class, it is below the global average generally, as this study details. Rapid economic growth in recent years has put severe pressure on the existing infrastructure, particularly in transport and energy, as well as in communications. This current state of the region’s infrastructure is a bottleneck to growth, a threat to competitiveness, and an obstacle to poverty reduction. The challenge now is to build better connections across Asia—and thus to the rest of the world.

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