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Ex-Chilean Minister Stresses Importance of Infrastructure Aid

Ex-Chilean Minister Stresses Importance of Infrastructure Aid

Posted September. 27, 2010 16:18,   


Former Chilean Public Works Minister Sergio Bitar, who visited Seoul to attend an international symposium, stressed the significance of including development issues in the G20 summit agenda Sunday.

A veteran official in Chile, Bitar also served as his country`s education minister from 2003 through 2006.

"The suggestion by Korea, which has achieved remarkable economic development, of the development issue as an agenda item at the upcoming Seoul G20 summit has laid the groundwork for systematic discussion on problems facing developing countries at the G20 level," he told The Dong-A Ilbo.

"This has also given Korea the opportunity to lead the way in the development of developing countries."

Bitar also said the G20 framework is a much more effective system in dealing with challenges facing developing countries.

"The development issue is an agenda item encompassing the needs of not only advanced and emerging economies but also non-G20 countries," he said. "The G20 doesn`t deal with items totally different from those at the G8 summit, but the former is a more advanced global consultation body than the latter in the diversity of agenda items and participating countries."

He also praised Korea`s suggestion made at the June meeting of G20 financial ministers and central bank governors in Busan that social welfare-focused assistance measures for developing countries need to be changed to those centered on infrastructure construction and fostering of human resources required for economic and social development.

"One-dimensional development methods such as the provision of loans and goods and the reduction of tariffs have limits," he said. "For developing countries to develop their economies on their own, the assistance should be focused on infrastructure such as transportation, electricity, construction and ports."

Bitar, who saw firsthand the damage inflicted by the magnitude 8.8 earthquake in Chile in February as public works minister, said systemic construction of infrastructure is a great help to developing countries.

"Chile is not a member of the G20 but is considered a country with stable economic growth in Latin America, and we established a deep relationship with Korea by concluding a free trade agreement ahead of any other country in Latin America," he said. "We will have much to cooperate on with Korea in development issues."