The head of the Asian Development Bank says Asia will be transformed economically over the next five years, and regional cooperation and integration are the keys to sustaining growth.
Bank President Haruhiko Kuroda said in a speech that, over the last year, the economies of developing Asia and the Pacific achieved their highest growth rates since the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990's. Mr. Kuroda told reporters later that Asia is poised for a remarkable period of expansion.
"In the next five years, the region will really be transformed into a more dynamic - although at this stage it is sufficiently dynamic - but more dynamic and more integrated economy."
At the same time, he stressed that continued regional integration is vital, if such growth is to continue, because Asia is a widely varied region.
"In Asia and the Pacific, of course, we have huge countries. But at the same time, we have many small (and) medium-size economies. And, particularly for them, regional economic integration is key for their economies to continue to grow, and to continue to be competitive in the global market."
But there are hazards. Mr. Kuroda said, if the current high oil prices continue for the next few years, that would hurt the economies of many of the region's countries in the short term.
He also said the benefits of growth must be extended to include wider sections of society, including the poor and vulnerable. The Asia Development Bank lends to dozens of countries throughout Asia, and its 63 members also include nations such as the United States, Germany and Australia.