A Public-Private Approach to Poverty in Asia

L to R: Brett Rierson, John Stefanac, Christopher Tan and Deborah Kan at Asia Society Hong Kong Center on Dec. 5, 2012. (Asia Society Hong Kong Center)

HONG KONG, December 5, 2012 — Remarkable economic progress in Asia over the past few decades has pulled millions of people out of poverty. Many, however, have still been left behind. Asia is home to two-thirds of the world's poor, with about 700 million people in Asia Pacific living on less than US$1 a day — 400 million of them in urban areas. Eliminating poverty though requires the public and government sectors to work together with not-for-profit organizations and the private sector.

How can these different sectors be brought together to eradicate poverty? How can the private sector be engaged, and encouraged to do more? With many households still lacking access to institutional finance, is microfinance an effective tool for promoting poverty reduction for households? Has it served as a tool for social transformation?

Brett Rierson of the World Food Programme, John Stefanac of Qualcomm Southeast Asia & Pacific, and the Grameen Foundation's Chief Executive Officer for the Asia Region Christopher Tan debated these and other related questions in a panel discussion moderated by Wall Street Journal Executive Producer Deborah Kan.

Video: Watch the complete program (55 min., 42 sec.)