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(LEAD) World Bank chief stresses population growth to sustain future

Populations need to grow in South Korea and elsewhere to ensure a sustainable future, the chief of the World Bank said Thursday, amid a falling fertility rate in the country.

World Bank President Ajay Banga made the remarks during a meeting with rep…

Populations need to grow in South Korea and elsewhere to ensure a sustainable future, the chief of the World Bank said Thursday, amid a falling fertility rate in the country. World Bank President Ajay Banga made the remarks during a meeting with reporters in Seoul, as he was in Seoul as part of his visits to the organization's member countries following his inauguration last June. "We need growing populations, as you know well in South Korea, to be able to keep and sustain the future," Banga said, citing the gender disparity in income as one of the biggest challenges for the world today. "If you don't ensure that women are compensated adequately for the burden they bear for enabling their population to grow, it leads to complexity," he added. Asked about ways to resolve such challenges, the chief pointed to rising expenses for child rearing and schooling, which tend to "reduce their desire to have children." Banga added that those issues are not confined to South Korea and he was not an expert on the ma tter. South Korea has seen a constant fall in its already-low birthrate, as well as rapid aging, as many young people opt to postpone or give up on getting married or having babies in line with changing social norms and lifestyles, as well as in the face of high home prices. Speaking of the economy, Banga said South Korea is "a very strong economy" and its companies have "deep expertise" across the whole range of industries from chips to automobiles. South Korean companies can make significant contributions to developing nations based on their "great balance sheets, human capital and technology," Banga said, citing the healthcare and renewable energy fields as promising sectors, among other things. Earlier in the day, Banga met with South Korea's Finance Minister Choi Sang-mok and discussed ways to boost cooperation between South Korea and the international entity on digital technology, global development aid via South Korea's official development assistance (ODA) programs and various other economic issue s, according to officials of Seoul's finance ministry. Seoul's presidential office has said the World Bank head praised South Korea's ODA policy as being "excellent," and voiced expectations for South Korea setting global digital standards and acting as a bridge between the respective digital standards of each country during a meeting with President Yoon Suk Yeol. Source: Yonhap News Agency