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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

February 2010 | 464 pages | SAGE Publications Pvt. Ltd
Promoting Economic Cooperation in South Asia: Beyond SAFTA examines the distinct development dichotomy that exists in South Asia and tries to find a workable solution to bridge this gap. In spite of rapid economic growth since 1980, there is extensive poverty and inequality in South Asia. This dichotomy has two faces: one is highly urbanized and well-linked to global markets, and the other is rural, isolated from the global economy, and growing very slowly. The large bulk of South Asia's poor live in the latter environment.

The book brings together perspectives from academics, the private sector, civil society and policy makers. Using solid empirical evidence and sound analysis, it stresses 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 strategy for removing the dichotomy and eliminating poverty in the longer term. Delving into major political economic issues of the SAARC region, the book analyzes SAFTA, bilateral FTAs, transportation, regional integration, regulatory mechanisms, food prices, labor and employment, and tourism. It also provides an analysis of why past cooperation efforts have not worked and how better cooperation can be achieved in specific areas. It looks at the many policy and institutional constraints that contribute to the present state and have made South Asia one of the least integrated regions of the world.

The book will be a very useful reference for researchers, scholars and bilateral and multilateral financial institutions and donor groups interested in South Asia's development. Policy makers and think tanks focusing on economics, political science, and international relations will also find it beneficial.


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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ISBN: 9788132103110

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