‘Asia is unprepared for aging population’

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ISLAMABAD:

Developing Asia and the Pacific is ill-prepared to safeguard the well-being of its rapidly aging population, facing challenges ranging from low pension coverage to health issues, social isolation, and restricted access to essential services. While longer lifespans signify the region’s development triumph, urgent policy reforms are essential to uphold the welfare of older individuals, as per the Aging Well in Asia: Asian Development Policy Report unveiled on Thursday by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) during its 57th Annual Meeting in Tbilisi, Georgia.

The population aged 60 and above in developing Asia and the Pacific is projected to nearly double by 2050 to 1.2 billion—approximately a quarter of the total population—escalating the demand for pension and welfare programmes along with healthcare services. Concurrently, economies stand to gain a “silver dividend” in the form of added productivity from older individuals, potentially boosting the region’s gross domestic product by 0.9% on average. “Asia and the Pacific’s rapid development is indeed a success story, yet it is also fuelling a significant demographic shift, and the pressure is mounting,” stated ADB Chief Economist Albert Park.

“Governments must prepare now to effectively assist hundreds of millions of aging individuals in the region. Policies should encourage lifelong investments in health, education, skills, and financial readiness for retirement. Nurturing family and social bonds is also crucial to cultivate healthy and productive older populations and maximise their societal contributions,” Park added.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 3rd, 2024.

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