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World Bank to bring Korean development model to emerging markets

Korea is one of the world’s most connected countries with people enjoying high-speed Internet access and advanced information and communication technology. Its transportation system integrating with ICT is highly modernized and efficient.

These are two of Korea’s most competitive development models the World Bank hopes to bring to developing and underdeveloped countries.

Rachel Kyte, vice president of the World Bank, said whether it is fragile, poor, middle-income or low-income economies, they are more interested in learning how to grow than merely receiving loans for infrastructure development.

“Developing countries want that. They want to get to that level of penetration, and access to broadband is very important for competitiveness,” Kyte recently told The Korea Herald. She is also the head of the bank’s network and sustainable development division.
Rachel Kyte
Rachel Kyte

“As a global institution, we would also like to bring transportation policymakers (in emerging markets) to Korea, which has the most integrated system. We are not going to take them to Germany or the U.S. because there’s more to learn in Korea.”

It also seeks to use such Korean transport and ICT models to help emerging markets develop green, smart cities, which is a “win for climate and win for public health.”

This is in line with efforts by the World Bank, whose “bread and butter” has been providing infrastructure financing, to expand services in knowledge sharing. As a start, the vice president said the bank and the Korean government have agreed to set up a $40 million fund that will be used “in a very practical way.”

The fund will reach economies via the bank’s platform, which is connected to more than 180 member countries.

“It also raises awareness of what the Korean private sector has to offer, and helps it to see opportunity when entering the emerging markets with their technologies and business models.”

However, she emphasized that all this knowledge collaboration must lead to regional job growth, better services and green growth, while boosting energy, food and water security.

“Our strategy, for example, when related to using ICT is to deliver services to other sectors of the economy such as health, education, e-government and mobile banking, which can help improve transparency and reduce corruption.”

Also, the World Bank will not be able to pull this off on its own, and it is important for private investors to participate.

As a global development financial institution, it can minimize possible technology, regional, credit and currency risks often faced by private investors by guaranteeing the performance of emerging countries.

“This becomes very important in public-private partnership. So when the World Bank guarantees, it makes it easier to find private investment.”

By Park Hyong-ki (