A few decades ago, South Korea was suffering from high levels of poverty and deprivation. However, Korea could achieve significant economic growth and reduction in poverty in part due to the help from the global community. One of the major benefactors was the World Bank Group (WBG), a global institution with two goals: ending extreme poverty within a generation and boosting shared prosperity.
Now a nation with the 15th largest economy in the world, Korea is providing similar aid to developing countries around the world through the World Bank Group, which is comprised of five agencies, one of which is the World Bank.
In 2013, a new World Bank office was set up in Incheon, Korea, to promote Korea’s experience of growth in other countries by deepening the World Bank’s partnership with Korea. Joyce Msuya, the World Bank Group Korea Office’s Special Representative, has led this operation. Now, she manages the Korea Office that focuses on fostering economic development opportunities for developing countries by sharing Korea’s experience and know-how. Msuya, who is from Tanzania, said, “the more we understand and share with each other, the better the world would be for everyone.”
According to the data from the World Bank Group, the number of people living below the poverty line (having an income of $1.90 a day) was likely to fall under 10% of the global population in 2016. However, the WBG also predicted that such continued reduction would be difficult due to factors such as slower global growth and unstable market situations.
In order to resolve this problem, the President of the WBG, Jim Yong Kim, pointed out the importance of an evidence-based approach where data drives their investments and projects. Ms. Msuya agreed with him because, as she told JSR, “If you are a policy maker in any country, you want to know how many poor people you have before you actually design appropriate programs to target those people. So we provide a lot of data to help inform the discussions and the advice we provide to other countries.”
She also commented on Korea’s remarkable progress. “Sixty years ago, Korea was a very poor country. Now it gives back as [a developed country], with this sense of ‘Let’s try to give back.’ That’s what humanity is all about. If those who have been blessed can actually help uplift others, then the world would become a better place.”