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Asian Nations Must Build Human Capital: World Bank Official

Saturday, May 23, 2009

TOKYO (Nikkei)--Investment in human capital is crucial for the long-term development of East Asia, the World Bank's Sarah Cliffe told The Nikkei on Friday, highlighting the importance of education, health care and other social infrastructure.

Cliffe, who serves as director of strategy and operations for the East Asia and Pacific region, noted that Asian governments have reacted quickly to the current economic crisis by announcing big fiscal spending initiatives. She is focusing on the pace at which they implement their promises.

Some bright spots can be seen in economic activity in East Asia, but risks remain, Cliffe said. She warned of the potential impact on financial institutions from troubles in the construction industry and other hard-hit sectors.

Cliffe was among the speakers at the International Conference on the Future of Asia, held in Tokyo this week and hosted by Nikkei Inc.

(The Nikkei May 23 morning edition)

Titles of speakers, names of companies, etc., were correct as of the time when the forum was held.