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BRIEFDecember 6, 2023

The World Bank Highlights the Impact of Korean Digital Innovation at the 9th Global ICT Leadership Forum

Guangzhe Chen speaking Vice President of Infrastructure at the World Bank delivered a keynote speech at the 9th Global ICT L

Guangzhe Chen, Vice President of Infrastructure at the World Bank, delivered a keynote speech at the 9th Global ICT Leadership Forum in Seoul. Photo: Ministry of Science and ICT

Guangzhe Chen, Vice President of Infrastructure at the World Bank, delivered a keynote speech at the 9th Global ICT Leadership Forum in Seoul where he discussed the role of digital technology in modern society and highlighted the World Bank's efforts to promote digital inclusion worldwide.

The Forum, held on November 1st, 2023, was organized by the Ministry of Science and ICT of the Republic of Korea (MSIT) and the National Information Society Agency (NIA) to serve as an incubator for forward-thinking talks on digital innovation. The event was timely, setting the tone for a year of strategic digital development, with an ambitious plan of Korea to debut Information Access Centers (IACs) in Albania, Bhutan, Nigeria, and Paraguay, as well as update facilities in Colombia, Panama, and Serbia by 2024.

A Bridge Over the Digital Divide

Since 2002, MSIT and NIA, with the support of the Ministry of Economy and Finance, have played a vital role in bridging the digital divide by establishing 66 IACs across 50 nations. Over twelve million people now have access to the internet and digital services thanks to the ICT infrastructure and learning materials provided by these centers.

Guangzhe Chen emphasized this progress, stating, "In partnership with the private sector and other development agencies, The World Bank plans to triple the financing over the next five years to support at least 80 countries in all regions in unlocking private investment, building digital public infrastructure, and developing digital skills in high demand in the new digital age."

Korea's Partnership: A Beacon of Digital Excellence

The Vice President also acknowledged Korea's development journey from a low-income to a high-income country, crediting its focus on digital transformation. He cited Korea as an example of how a strong technology sector can contribute to economic growth and societal advancement.

"The Republic of Korea stands at the forefront of the digital policy conversation. Initiatives like its National Digital Strategy and Digital Bill of Rights are not just commendable—they are templates for digital inclusivity and culture," said Guangzhe Chen.

KoDi: A Repository of Best Practices

Chen then highlighted the significance of the Korea Digital Development program (KoDi), which leverages Korean expertise to support global digitalization. KoDi's work includes research and knowledge sharing in areas like cybersecurity, public data utilization, and the ICT sector's environmental impact. The program aims to distill recent Korean advances into a set of universal digital norms for developing countries use.

Forging Ahead

The 9th Global ICT Leadership Forum laid the foundation for future governance of IAC initiatives and potential collaboration with Korea. The event boosted the World Bank's and international partners' efforts to address socioeconomic challenges and promote global collaboration for digital prosperity for all.

Participants at the 9th global ICT forum

Photo: Ministry of Science and ICT