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FEATURE STORY January 21, 2020

New Global Forum in Korea to Harness Innovation and Technology for Sustainable Development


World Bank Group Korea Office and the Ministry of Economy and Finance, Republic of Korea co-hosted inaugural the Global Innovative Growth Forum 2019.

Photo: © World Bank Group


  • World Bank Group Korea Office and the Ministry of Economy and Finance, Republic of Korea co-hosted the inaugural Global Innovative Growth Forum 2019.
  • The forum highlighted global trends in technology, data, artificial intelligence and automation.
  • Visit of World Bank East Asia and Pacific Vice President strengthens collaboration with organizations in Korea.

The World Bank Group (WBG) Korea office co-hosted the inaugural Global Innovative Growth Forum (GIGF) in Seoul, a joint initiative with the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MOEF) of the Republic of Korea from November 7 to 8, 2019. The global forum provides a platform to discuss how to seize opportunities and manage the challenges of innovation and rapid transformation.

The forum, which was opened by Economy and Finance Vice Minister Yun Cheol Koo, attracted over 400 public and private sector participants, both domestic and international, with experts from various ministries and Korean research institutes, also companies such as Airbnb Korea and Daumsoft.

Global innovation and technology trends and major policy issues were discussed on the first day. Private sector representatives debated specific innovation topics such as platform sharing, data, artificial intelligence, and automation and robots on the second day.

World Bank Vice President for East Asia and Pacific, Victoria Kwakwa, in her opening remarks highlighted how new innovations and technologies will be important new drivers of growth.

“The accelerating pace of technology diffusion, the convergence of multiple technologies, and the emergence of global platforms are disrupting traditional development models,” said Ms. Kwakwa. “Disruptive technologies promise to affect the way we work, consume, and live; and dramatically change how we gather information, make products, or interact with each other.”

At the forum, Ms. Kwakwa cited the 2019 World Development Report, emphasizing the need to prepare for the risks and opportunities of disruptive technologies, also to strengthen the partnership between the World Bank Group and the Korean government on innovation and technology.

Also, from the World Bank, Boutheina Guermazi, Director of Digital Development, delivered a keynote speech on international technology trends. Hoon Sahib Soh, Special Representative of the World Bank Group in Korea, participated as a panelist to discuss the need for new education and training system and enhanced social protection, to prepare workers for the future workplace of advanced technology.

Vice Minister Koo and Vice President Kwakwa also shared their ideas on the possibility of extending GIGF as a joint annual flagship event to expand collaboration in the area of innovation and technology. WBG Korea office will play a central role in this expanded partnership, as it is building new programs on innovation and technology.


Preliminary meeting with Ministry of Economy and Finance, Republic of Korea

Photo: © World Bank Group

Strengthening collaborations in Korea

Ms. Kwakwa also met with Korean organizations working with the World Bank to further advance partnerships, particularly on innovation and technology, and to observe first-hand active local collaborations.

During her visit she met with MOEF Deputy Minister Hoe Jeong Kim to discuss the broader Korea-WBG partnership. Ms. Kwakwa also met with key Korean partners of the World Bank, including Seoul National University, the Bretton Woods Club, the Seoul Financial Forum, Korea Land and Geospatial Information Corporation (LX), Sudokwon Landfill Corporation (SLC), and ETechHive—an environmental research industry complex focused on supporting environmentally friendly technology incubation for small and medium enterprises.

The meetings with LX, SLC and ETEchHive were jointly organized by the Korea Green Growth Trust Fund. In her meetings, Vice President Kwakwa highlighted Korea’s importance as a development partner for the World Bank and its success and capabilities on a wide range of development issues.

In her interview with The Korea Times, Victoria Kwakwa expressed her excitement about the partnership with Korea which was once a World Bank client receiving development aid and has now become an important donor partner.

She emphasized the importance of the World Bank Korea office on leveraging Korea’s practical development experience and collaborating to support developing countries.

We can leverage the Korea office even more by focusing further on innovation and technology as well as green growth as the two focal points of our partnership.” said Ms. Kwakwa.