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The Republic of Korea has achieved remarkable success in recent decades in combining rapid economic growth with significant poverty reduction, with real gross domestic product (GDP) growing on average by 4.9% annually between 1988 and 2022. This robust performance was fueled by annual export growth averaging 8.9% in the same period. As the first former aid recipient to become a member of the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in 2010, Korea’s gross national income (GNI) per capita increased rapidly from US$67 in the early 1950s to US$32,661 in 2022.

Korea is a key development partner of the World Bank Group (WBG) and an important contributor (since 1977) to the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s fund that supports the world’s poorest countries. Today Korea’s experience offers lessons for developing countries in sustainable development, provision of infrastructure and better services to improve the lives of the people, and how to transition to a dynamic knowledge economy.

In line with its enhanced international role, the Korean government entered into a co-financing framework agreement with the World Bank and created multiple trust funds. The World Bank Group Korea Office was established in 2013 and is currently in its third Phase (FY22-24) under the banner of a global center for innovation and technology for sustainable development.

The World Bank Group Korea office partnered with the Korea Development Institute on a flagship report to analyze how Korea was able to achieve sustained growth and a successful transition from a middle-to a high-income economy by leveraging innovation and technology for development. Read more

As countries around the world work to address the impact of the COVID-19 crisis, the World Bank Group Korea Office and the Korean government are also partnering to share the country’s expertise and experience, particularly in the use of innovative and technology-enabled solutions to respond to the pandemic. Five countries in the East Asia and Pacific region—Fiji, Malaysia, Mongolia, Vietnam, and the Republic of Korea—will collaborate to share their lessons on pandemic preparedness and response. An Asia Pacific Pandemic Forum is scheduled to be held in September 2023 to present the overall findings of this project as well as provide a platform for experts to discuss the outlook on preparing for future pandemics.

Last Updated: Oct 06, 2023

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37F. Boo Young Songdo Tower 2, 241, Incheon tower-daero, Yeonsu-gu, Incheon, Korea
Incheon, 82-32-713-7000
Washington, 202-473-4709
1818 H Street NW, Washington, DC 20433