Asia and Oceania

To global findings

Economies in Asia and Oceania continue to grow, but conflicts in the region are also intensifying. As in other parts of the world, populists and strongmen are increasingly taking power. Moreover, regional and global claims to leadership are colliding with each other. Nonetheless, to date, the regional peace has been preserved.

For the first time, fully half of the countries assessed by the BTI are governed democratically. However, Taiwan and South Korea are the only democracies without serious defects. Moreover, the growing mobilization of ethnic and religious identities and the rise of populism have already brought about significant setbacks in several countries.

The continued growth of Asia and Oceania’s economies has brought about sweeping structural change with many beneficial outcomes. However, the costs brought on by industrialization and globalization are increasingly apparent: Inequality is growing, and the scramble to solve the challenges of climate change seems increasingly desperate.

A large part of the region continues to make no progress with regard to improving governance. Authoritarian men holding the reins of power have exacerbated the potential for conflict. However, even a female icon of democracy has proved disappointing as head of state.

The primary short-term risks to regional development include the ongoing trade dispute between the United States and China, the associated weakening of foreign trade, and the current dip in investment in mainland China.

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