World Bank Chief Urges

Kuala Lumpur Star
March 8, 2000

Kuala Lumpur - Countries that do not embrace information technology and its attendant challenges will fall back in their development programmes, World Bank president James Wolfensohn warned yesterday.

Speaking in a "live" video conference at the Second Global Knowledge Conference in Kuala Lumpur from Washington D.C., Wolfensohn pointed out that knowledge, if properly transferred (globally) from developed to developing countries, presents the "greatest opportunity" for people to progress in their fight against poverty.

Noting that the Internet and distance learning programmes were two such global reaching methods, Wolfensohn said a "gateway of knowledge" could be set up for poorer countries to tap. The gateway could contain information relevant to these countries and include information on systems--legal, financial and judicial for example--or rural and urban issues.

"It is not just a pipe dream, but something possible. It's a case of the effective use of technology,' Wolfensohn told the 1,200 participants at the video conference.

He stressed that the problems posed by an anticipated population explosion in developing countries over the next 25 years could be solved by providing "knowledge, partnership and opportunities."

The Star is a strategic media partner in the four-day conference.

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