News and Events

(76) ADB presents studies on Knowledge-Based Economies

29 January 2015 – The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and AIM-ZSDM held a joint Development@Work seminar and panel discussion entitled ‘Innovative Asia: Advancing the Knowledge-Based Economy’ last January 22. Key findings from the ADB study on Asia’s knowledge economies were presented with the premise that, if emerging Asian economies strengthen knowledge-based development, they can go beyond middle-income levels.

Mr. Bindu Lohani, Vice-President of Knowledge Management and Sustainable Development from ADB, addressed the participants by defining what knowledge-based economies are and then presenting the current situation in Asia.

76-Mr. Bindu Lohani

ADB defines knowledge economies as “those which uses resources such as information and communication technologies, innovation and research, and skills to create, disseminate, and apply knowledge and information for growth.” (Learn more about what Knowledge Economies are, why Asia needs knowledge-based economies, and the general ways for emerging economies to pursue a knowledge-based economy development here.) 

 As for the current situation, results show that there is a strong correlation between knowledge-based economies and GDP per capita. Middle income countries have large investments in supply chain manufacturing whereas high income countries such as Korea and Singapore have invested in the IT sector, which is knowledge and innovation-intensive.

Ms. Shanti Jagannathan, Senior Education Specialist of the Regional and Sustainable Development Department (ADB), followed Mr. Lohani’s talk with a presentation of the studies. These are:

76-Ms. Shanti Jagannathan

According to Ms. Jagannathan, a clear message came out of the studies: It’s apparent that, from where Asia is currently standing, there is much to catch up on. However, it has a unique model and it doesn’t have to conform to what others have been doing for themselves.  

The key to Asia’s advancement is frugal innovation, wherein innovation is commercialized and made to work for the masses. This is what it means to mold current trends according to unique strengths. Knowledge-based economies are powerful tools for inclusive growth because they have the capacity to address inequality and redefine development.

“[The] high cost of inaction is missed opportunity,” Ms. Jagannathan continues, and she discusses how important it is for those who are developing knowledge-based economies to know when and what to tap. They need to set their eyes on technologies which make sense to the masses, and ones which can reach them.



The study presentation was then further discussed with the invited panelists: Dean Juan Miguel M. Luz (AIM-ZSDM), Mr. Suraj Moraje (Managing Partner of McKinsey & Company, Philippines), Mr. Monchito B. Ibrahim (OIC Deputy Executive Director of the ICT Industry Development Group, Office of the Deputy Executive Director, Department of Science and Technology), and Ms. Shanti Jagannathan (ADB). Mr. Moraje, in his piece, brought up the questions “How do we create and fund each innovation?” and “How does each country know its place?” while Mr. Ibrahim discussed updates on knowledge-based economy progress in the Philippines (education, information technologies, economic incentives/institutional regime, and innovation). Dean Luz brought up the issue of knowing what capability and role the private sector can play in developing countries where governments do not have the same strength and continuity that high-income countries have.


Seminar Materials

Innovation and Creativity: Building Knowledge-Based Economies in Asia and the Pacific (Mr. Bindu N. Lohani) 

Innovative Asia: Advancing the Knowledge-Based Economy, A study by the Asian Development Bank (Ms. Shanti Jagannathan)

Event Photos (Facebook)


About the Development@Work Seminar Series

The AIM Zuellig Graduate School of Development Management hosts numerous talks and public lectures on different aspects of development management. These seminars and lectures are free and open to the public, unless stated otherwise. For information on future seminars, visit the News and Events section of this website or like us on Facebook (


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