|West and South Asia - Economy |
The map shows regions with highly contrasting economies. The Arabian Gulf states and India, which in different ways are closely integrated into the globalized economy, contrast both with vast areas that remain largely in their natural state and also with extensive cultivated agricultural regions, e.g. the deserts, river oases, mountains and peripheral highlands in the interior of the continent. Some regions, such as the Ganges delta, are threatened by natural hazards.
The economy of Western Asia is characterized to an exceptional degree by oil and natural gas extraction and oil processing. Such a concentration within one subcontinent is without parallel anywhere else in the world. Efforts to diversify the structure of the economy are taking increasing effect, so that one can no longer speak of a mono-structure. Large-scale investment has flowed into manufacturing sectors such as chemicals or aluminium production, and especially into the service sector, for example in locations such as Dubai.
Within Western Asia, two major economic areas are dominant: in and around the Persian Gulf is the focal point of oil extraction, linked to refineries and the petrochemical industry. In addition there is gas extraction (the basis for energy supply) as well as sites with energy-intensive industries (smelting of metals). This industrial structure is becoming increasingly supplemented by services. The economic structure of the Mediterranean coastal region is more diverse. Israel is the most powerful economy in this region, ranging from export-oriented farming based on irrigation, through chemicals and high-tech industries, to tourism. Coastal sites that are connected by pipelines to the oil-producing areas (Central Asia, Iraq, Persian Gulf) are preferred locations in this region for refineries and the chemical industry.
Thanks to the use of the Kuhrud Mountains for mining and the many textile industry locations, the edges of the great basins in the interior of Iran form an important economic region.
The continent's most important agricultural regions include the great river oases (Mesopotamia, Central Asia), the oases in the Arabian Peninsula, the Israeli coastal plain, the southern foreland of the Caucasus and the southern shores of the Caspian Sea. Especially in Iran and the Caucasus foreland, land use reflects the favourable natural circumstances, especially relatively high rainfall.
Mass poverty and high technology both of these are represented by India, the up-and-coming and by far the most important economy in Southern Asia. In India's neighbouring countries, only the large cities (Rangoon, Dhaka, Karachi, Lahore) are industrial locations. Nepal and Sri Lanka are important destinations for international tourism.
Today, India is one of the largest industrial countries in the world, and like Pakistan as well has developed high-technology sectors such as the nuclear industry, missile production and computers. India is also growing in importance as a service location (e.g. software production). The pattern of spatial distribution of industry shows a concentration on a few large cities and their environs (Bombay, Delhi, Bangalore and Madras among others). The growth centre for industry is the state of Maharashtra with Bombay (Mumbai) at its heart. Traditionally, the textile industry is of great importance, as also in Pakistan.
A structural problem in India has been the high level of state participation in the economy. State intervention was the order of the day, sometimes leading to mistaken location decisions, partly against the background of pursuing economic development with the greatest possible autarky and industrializing on the basis of primary raw materials. The aim was to avoid importing anything that India could manufacture itself. Influences from abroad, for example multinational companies, were deliberately kept out of India in order to facilitate development by its own efforts.
The early 1990s saw economic reforms. Majority participation by foreign capital became possible, and the Indian market was opened up. As a result of these reforms, direct foreign investment has increased sharply.
M. Felsch, W. Storkebaum; Ü: J. Attfield
Keywords: drilling platform economy land cover land use natural gas offshore oil pipeline refinery Southern Asia Western Asia
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