SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) — During a time of a global decline in growth and trade, the World Bank said South Asia could potentially serve as the world’s next manufacturing and exporting powerhouse through the right mix of reforms and investments.

However, the bank’s report notes that countries in the region are still struggling with integration, which can be attributed to the region’s stunted growth.

“South Asia is at a turning point. The region is benefiting from a confluence of positive internal and external forces. South Asian countries are starting to receive the competitiveness dividends from the economic reforms and public investments in infrastructure and education carried over the last 25 years,” the report said.

With around one million people entering the workforce each month, and a growing urban population, the report said South Asia are in a prime opportunity to seize the chance of becoming the world’s next authority on manufacturing and exporting. South Asian officials said their region will be home to more than a quarter of the world’s working adults by 2030 and should take advantage of a confluence of positive forces, such as favorable demographics, increasing education levels, growing cities and the rising cost of labor in East Asia.

“To realize this potential, countries should work diligently to increase regional and global integration, take advantage of agglomeration economies, strengthen firm capabilities, and improve the business environment,” the Bank said in its report. “The region’s great competitiveness potential can be shown by the success of its leading firms.”

“South Asia’s leading firms have risen to standards of global excellence, demonstrating that world class levels of operational performance, efficiency, and innovation can be achieved with the right management, technology and worker training,” said Annabel Gonzalez, the World Bank Group’s Senior Director for Trade & Competitiveness.