WASHINGTON, October 10, 2013 - World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim, and the Republic of Korea’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Strategy and Finance Oh-Seok Hyun signed today the Establishment Agreement covering the arrangements to set up the World Bank Group Korea Office, announced in October last year.
The World Bank Group will open a new main office in Songdo District of the Incheon Free Economic Zone and a liaison office in Seoul Central Business District. The new offices will support a broad range of development partnership opportunities with a focus on promoting best practices, by leveraging the Bank Group’s knowledge and convening power and Korea’s expertise in areas such as economic development policy, information communications technology, infrastructure and the financial sector.
“South Korea's experience in sustainable development, providing infrastructure and better services to improve the lives of the people, and its transition to a dynamic knowledge economy, provides lessons that can benefit many other developing countries,” said Kim. The signing ceremony was held on the sidelines of the Annual Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.
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. Now the world’s 14th largest economy, Korea is a key development partner of the WBG and an important contributor to the International Development Association (IDA), the fund established to support the world’s poorest countries.
“It is a critical moment in the history of partnership between the Republic of Korea and the World Bank Group,” said Deputy Prime Minister Hyun. “The World Bank Group Korea Office will enhance our partnership enormously. Through its remarkable economic transformation, Korea understands the policy challenges that developing countries face and, with our expanded engagement with the World Bank Group’s new offices in Korea, we stand ready to share the knowledge and know-how we have gained over the past decades to guide others.”
In addition to the World Bank’s IBRD and IDA, the new World Bank Group office will also host 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 infrastructure, manufacturing and services, and financial sectors by partnering with Korea-based firms to invest in emerging markets around the world.
MIGA has expanded 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.