LAHORE (Staff Report) – According to a World Bank report, 13.1% or one in eight people living in urban areas live below the national poverty line.
Pakistan has the lowest percentage of urban poverty among the top five most populous countries in South Asia, but the according to the World Bank statistics, the poverty level is till high compared to other Asian countries.
South Asia’s urbanization has been messy as seen in the widespread prevalence of slums. At least 130 million South Asians—equivalent to more than the entire population of Mexico—live in informal urban settlements characterized by poor construction, insecure tenure and underserviced plots.
One big reason is that its urbanization has been messy and hidden, according to the report titled, “Leveraging Urbanization in South Asia: Managing Spatial Transformation for Prosperity and Livability.”
South Asia’s policymakers, the World Bank report says, face a choice: Continue on the same path or undertake difficult and appropriate reforms to improve the region’s trajectory of development. It won’t be easy but such actions are essential in making the region’s cities prosperous and livable.