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The World Bank anticipates that Malaysia could become a high-income nation as early as 2020. File pic

KUALA LUMPUR: The World Bank anticipates that Malaysia could become a high-income nation as early as 2020.

In its latest Malaysian Economic Monitor report, the World Bank projected that the country’s gross national income (GNI) per capita will pass the high-income threshold of US$12,236 (RM49,923) sometime between 2020 and 2025.

The World Bank currently defines high-income economies as those whose gross national income (GNI) per capita stands at US$ 12,236 or more, based on estimates using the Atlas method.

In 2017, Malaysia‘s average GNI per capita is estimated to stand at US$ 9,660, or US$ 2,576 short of the defined threshold level.

Unveilled on Thursday, the Malaysia Economic Monitor report, titled "Turmoil to Transformation: 20 years after the Asian Financial Crisis" presents an analysis of economic and structural development issues in Malaysia.

The aim of the Malaysia Economic Monitor is to foster better-informed policy analysis and debate regarding the key challenges that Malaysia faces in its endeavor to achieve rapid, inclusive and sustainable economic growth.

According to the report also Malaysia's economic growth accelerated in 2017 with year-on-year growth projected at 5.8 per cent, the highest annual growth rate since 2014.

The economy is also expected to remain strong in 2018, projected at 5.2 per cent, it said adding the estimate was based on accelerated growth fueled by strengthening domestic demand, improved labor market conditions, wage growth as well as improved external demand for manufactured products and commodity exports.

Malaysia World Bank director Ulrich Zachau had said Malaysia's progress over the last 20 years owes much to the sound policies being adopted during and since the Asian Financial Crisis.

"Continued sound macroeconomic management and further reforms to strengthen people's skills, competitiveness and equal opportunities will help secure gains from Malaysia's robust economic growth for all its people, especially low-income and lower-income families through access to more and better jobs," he pointed out.

According to the report, Malaysia's stronger than expected growth create opportunities for deeper structural reforms that can lead to higher growth.

"These reforms include policies that enhance productivity and address constraints such as lack of competition in key markets and critical skills deficits. Such policies will enable access to more remunerative employment and real income gains for lower-income families," it stated.

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