SEOUL, October 15, 2012 - World Bank Group President, Jim Yong Kim, and South Korea’s Minister of Strategy and Finance, Jaewan Bahk today announced the opening of a new World Bank Group Office in Korea in 2013, to deepen joint efforts to find sustainable development solutions for emerging countries around the globe. The office will focus on infrastructure, information communications technology, the financial sector and knowledge sharing.
In a further sign of strengthening ties between the World Bank Group and Korea, they also announced the launch of a new $90 million fund to support developing countries, the Korea-World Bank Partnership Facility. The Facility will support a broad range of economic development opportunities with a focus on promoting best practices, by leveraging the Bank’s knowledge and convening power and Korea’s expertise in areas such as economic development policy, information communications technology, infrastructure and the financial sector.
“At a time of global uncertainty, there’s an even greater sense of urgency to help developing countries tackle their challenges to reduce poverty and create greater prosperity for their people,” Kim said. “South Korea's experience in sustainable development, providing efficient infrastructure and services to improve the lives of its people, combined with its transition to a dynamic knowledge economy, provides lessons that can benefit many other developing countries,”
Kim said the new office would help share Korea’s development successes, as well as its expertise in managing the 1997 Asian financial crisis and the recent 2008 global financial crisis, providing lessons for other emerging economies as they work to mitigate the impacts of the Eurozone crisis.
South Korea is an exceptional example of an aid recipient turned donor, with GNI per capita increasing rapidly from US$ 67 in the early 1950s to over US$ 20,000 in 50 years. Now an OECD-DAC country, Korea is a valued member of the international donor community and key development partner of the WBG, as well as a strong contributor of IDA.
“This is a critical moment. These agreements reflect Korea’s growing stature on the international stage and are a testament to our remarkable partnership with the World Bank,” Minister Bahk said. “Korea is one of the few development aid recipient countries that successfully transformed to a major donor and the world's 13th largest economy. And therefore it understands the difficulties that developing countries are facing today. Korea stands ready to share the knowledge and know-how gained over the course of its development.”
The new Korea-World Bank Partnership Facility will provide $90 million over three years to finance global and regional projects to support economic development and co-financing investments at the country level. The emphasis will be on generating and transferring development best practices, with low and lower middle income countries eligible for funding under the new facility. The WBG Office will also be financed by this facility.
Currently, the World Bank Group has a series of partnerships and joint projects with Korean partners designed to enhance financial sector management, promote investment in green infrastructure and renewable energy, share know-how in information communications technology and knowledge sharing, as well as assist fragile and conflict-affected states.
The new World Bank Group office will include IFC (International Finance Corporation) – the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector—and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) –the Bank Group’s agency which provides political risk insurance to promote foreign direct investment into developing countries.
IFC will draw on Korea’s strong private sector experience to support the scale-up of critical projects in the infrastructure, manufacturing and services, and financial sectors by partnering with Korea-based firms to invest in emerging markets around the world.
MIGA is deepening its ties with the Korean private sector to promote Korean investments in developing countries and looks forward to working more closely with the government as well as public and private sector entities to share knowledge and experience. The agency’s scaled-up presence will assist Asian investors to facilitate their plans for inbound and outbound investments.