World Bank Group President Jim Yong said on December 3 that South Korea should feel responsible for the hope of people around the world admiring its miraculous economic growth. He also mentioned that he is willing to provide assistance for North Korea if it shows a sign of change in its national politics and nuclear programs.
He participated in a special lecture session hosted by the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry held at Grand Hyatt Hotel Seoul on that day, and said, “South Korea used to be a country having a lower per-capita GDP than Ghana and relying upon aid from the OECD-DAC. But it is now in possession of the fourth-largest number of patents in the world.” He went on, “I feel very proud of my country’s rapid economic growth and would like to ask its government and enterprises to be more interested in the growth of less-developed nations.”
He put a particular emphasis on the African continent, stressing that the region has unlimited potential as was the case with South Korea in the mid-20th century. “After the end of the Korean War, the majority of economic theory books concluded that the South had no hope due to the shadow of the war. The Philippines rather than South Korea was deemed to be more promising because of the use of the English language,” he explained. Going on, “These days, development economists seem to apply the same theory in predicting the future of Africa, but I am convinced that the future of Africa is more than bright, which I have felt since my first visit to the continent.”
He continued, “Congo, Rwanda, Mali, and other countries own a huge amount of precious natural resources even though regional conflicts are going on, and Burkina Faso has continued a 6% economic growth for years, paying six to seven times the global average in electric charges.”
He also added, “I have talked a lot with United Nations Security General Ban Ki-moon, and I am willing to provide assistance for North Korea with the World Bank, the Asia Development Bank, and the like, if a political breakthrough is in sight.”