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Promoting Economic Cooperation in South Asia

Promoting Economic Cooperation in South Asia
Beyond SAFTA

First Edition
Edited by:
  • Sadiq Ahmed - Policy Research Institute of Bangladesh, Dhaka
  • Saman Kelegama - Institute of Policy Studies of Sri Lanka (IPS), Colombo, Sri Lanka
  • Ejaz Ghani - South Asia Region, World Bank, Washington DC

May 2010 | 464 pages | SAGE Publications Pvt. Ltd

This volume examines the dichotomy between the two faces of South Asia—one poverty stricken and lagging in development, the other highly urbanized and growing rapidly—and tries to find a workable solution to bridge this gap. It looks at the many policy and institutional constraints that contribute to this dichotomy, especially regional conflict that has made South Asia one of the least integrated regions of the world.

This volume argues that in addition to policy and institutional reforms aimed at removing domestic constraints to growth and job creation, market integration and regional cooperation ought to be key elements of a regional strategy for removing this dichotomy and eliminating poverty over the longer term. The authors establish the need for two types of market integration in South Asia—providing countries, especially the land-locked ones, with broader access to regional and global markets; and integrating the lagging regions within each country with growth centers without regard to boundaries.

The book is organized into four parts. Part I talks about the imperative for cooperation in terms of the development context. Part II looks at a number of specific areas of options and opportunities for cooperation, including trade, trade facilitation, transport, financial and food crises, migration and tourism. Part III provides the private sector's perspectives on regional cooperation based on contributions from business leaders of Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Finally, Part IV deals with a number of political economy issues relating to distribution of gains from cooperation among participating countries and how SAARC can be made more effective in implementing agreed programs.

A Perspective on Peace and Economic Cooperation in South Asia Akmal Hussain
Making Regional Cooperation Work for South Asia's Poor Sadiq Ahmed and Ejaz Ghani
SAFTA: Current Status and Prospects Dushni Weerakoon
Bilateral Free Trade Agreements in SAARC and Implications for SAFTA Deshal De Mel
Connecting South Asia: The Centrality of Trade Facilitation for Regional Economic Integration Jayanta Roy and Pritam Banerjee
Transit and Border Trade Barriers in South Asia Prabir De, Sachin Chaturvedi, and Abdur Rob Khan
Transport Issues and Integration in South Asia M Rahmatullah
Harmonizing Regulatory Mechanisms: Options for Deepening Investment Integration in South Asia Mark Andrew Dutz
Managing the Food Price Crisis in South Asia Richard Vokes and Savindi Jayakody
Labor Migration, Employment, and Poverty Alleviation in South Asia Sridhar K Khatri
Promoting Tourism in South Asia Renton De Alwis
Regional Cooperation in South Asia: Bangladesh Perspective Yussuf A Harun
Regional Cooperation in South Asia: India Perspective Sonu Jain
Regional Cooperation in South Asia: Pakistan Perspective Khalid Amin
Regional Cooperation in South Asia: Sri Lanka Perspective Chandra Jayaratne
Weaker Economies in SAFTA: Issues and Concerns Mohammad A Razzaque
SAARC Programs and Activities: Assessment Monitoring and Evaluation Mahendra P Lama

Promoting Regional Economic Cooperation in South Asia while making for useful reading also raises hopes and expectations of fresh and insightful offerings from the authors that could be used as inputs in devising credible policy measures to achieve concrete outcomes of the yet slow-moving agenda of economic cooperation in the region… The editors have to be lauded for the sheer diversity and range of issues that have been included in the book.... the book is a courageous effort at bringing together the relevant aspects of regional economic cooperation in South Asia in one volume. The book succeeds in bringing some core problems and solutions to the table using some innovative techniques and imaginative thinking that goes beyond the rhetoric!

South Asia Economic Journal

The book is a good collection of viewpoints from policy makers, private sector, civil society and academics. It captures the ‘dichotomy’ in South Asia and describes its ‘two faces’- one that is ‘highly urbanized and well linked to global markets’ and the other ‘rural, isolated from the global economy and growing very slowly’.

Business Line

This book examines the distinct development dichotomy that exists in South Asia and tries to find a workable solution to bridge this gap… Undoubtedly, the book is an eloquent plea to ensure high regional co-operation leading to a strong South Asia. It is strongly recommended reading for all policy makers and students of South Asia.

Free Press Journal

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