Finance Minister Hyun Oh-seok (left) and World Bank president Jim Yong Kim sign an agreement at the World Bank’s headquarters in Washington D.C. on Thursday for the opening of a regional office of the World Bank in Songdo, west of Seoul, in December. (Yonhap News)
The World Bank Group and Korea’s Ministry of Strategy and Finance agreed to push ahead with plans to set up World Bank offices in Korea by the end of this year, the two agencies said Friday.
World Bank President Jim Yong Kim and Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Hyun Oh-seok signed an agreement that “covers the arrangements” to set up the World Bank’s main Korean office in Songdo District of the Incheon Free Economic Zone, and its liaison office in Seoul in December this year.
The two met on the sidelines of the annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank in Washington D.C. on Thursday.
The World Bank Group and the Korean government announced in October last year their plan to establish a World Bank office in Korea.
“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,” Kim said at the signing ceremony in Washington D.C.
The office in Songdo will operate as a supporting platform providing Korea’s expertise in information technology, infrastructure development and economic development models to the World Bank’s aid recipients or underdeveloped economies.
It will also back Kim’s key strategies and reform drives for the World Bank as he focuses on boosting job creation, combating climate change and global poverty during his presidency.
Korea is an exceptional example of an aid recipient-turned-donor, with GNI per capita increasing rapidly from $67 in the early 1950s to over $20,000 today. As the world’s 14th-largest economy, Korea is a key development partner of the World Bank Group and an important contributor to the International Development Association, the fund established to support the world’s poorest countries, the World Bank Group said in a statement.
“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 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.”
By Park Hyong-ki