THE LEGATUM PROSPERITY INDEX™ 2020

Creating the Pathways from Poverty to Prosperity

Asia-Pacific: The most-improved region over the last decade

Asia-Pacific is the most-improved region over the last decade. Although it is still the fifth-ranked region, it has overtaken the global average and is almost as prosperous as Latin America and the Caribbean, for the reasons outlined below.

Improvements
  • The expansion of telecommunications infrastructure across the region has driven the substantial improvement seen in market access and infrastructure. For example, in India (85th), over 400 million additional people now use the internet than in 2010, resulting in a 16-rank rise in the communications element. A corollary of this is that people have a greater degree of connectedness with each other, resulting in the country rising 51 places to 69th for the connectedness element. This is a trend mirrored in many other countries across the region.
  • Regulatory reforms over the past decade have led to 21 of the 29 countries in the region seeing an improvement in their enterprise conditions, exemplified by Tajikistan (105th). The country has implemented tax reforms to consolidate payments and reduce costs, meaning the country has improved by 86 ranks in the Burden of Regulation element.
  • The Asia-Pacific region is the most improved for living conditions, due to extreme poverty rates decreasing by a half, and the prevalence of undernourishment decreasing by a third. Among those countries that have seen significant improvement is Indonesia (104th), where the most abject poverty rates (defined as $1.90 per day) have reduced from 22% to under 5% of the population, and access to basic services such as sanitation have increased.
Deteriorations
  • In the Asia-Pacific region, Personal Freedom is the only pillar to have deteriorated, albeit just slightly. Though only 10 of the 29 countries in the region have seen Personal Freedom decline, they include some of the largest countries, such as India (106th). Most of this deterioration is due to an erosion of the freedoms of assembly, association, and speech.