Former World Bank president Robert Zoellick yesterday expressed confidence in the role that Taiwan could continue to play in the development of the international community as he said that changes in the world “all fit Taiwan’s strengths.”
With experience, commitment and the will of the people, “Taiwan will be even more able to contribute [to the world] in the years ahead,” Zoellick said in his keynote speech delivered at an international conference on International Development Cooperation and the Taiwanese Experience held in Taipei yesterday.
In his speech “Developing countries and Emerging Markets: A world of Change,” Zoellick offered his observations on changes in the developing world, in the EU and in the US and related the changes to how he thinks about development policies, challenges and opportunities for Taiwan.
Having guided US policies that brought Taiwan, along with Hong Kong and China, into APEC in 1991, as well as assisting Taiwan’s accession into the WTO in 2001 when serving under previous US administrations, Zoellick said he hoped that Taiwan views development aid as “part of a larger strategy,” not only for its ongoing economic advancement, but also as an involvement within a rapidly changing global economy.
Zoellick said that Taiwan has significant experience to share with developing countries as an economy that successfully transformed itself from being a foreign aid recipient to a donor, as well as becoming a source of knowledge for others.
“The global economy is highly dynamic … There will be more economies that rise and influence the global system — and some may triumph. We are witnessing the democratization of the development process. The new system is a network, it is not hierarchical … and of course, one side’s approach won’t fit all,” Zoellick said.
Zoellick said the changes taking place in the world — dynamic systems and networks, pragmatic learning, problem solving, reliance on an open society, democratic development, smart economic power — “all fit Taiwan’s strengths.”
One of the most important messages Zoellick said he wished to convey to Taiwan was that the integration of the world goes “beyond state-to-state relations.”
Saying that he has watched Taiwan achieve amazing things over the years, Zoellick encouraged Taiwan to continue its process of ongoing reform and a strong private sector to develop inclusive and sustainable growth, to boost structural changes to open Taiwan’s domestic markets and to enhance the service sector as well as building a skilled and educated workforce for both men and women.
Zoellick said Taiwan can sharpen its productivity in the six emerging industries identified by the President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) administration to help promote global changes, referring to green energy, biotech, tourism, health care, high quality agriculture and the creative industries.
The conference was hosted by the government-affiliated International Cooperation and Development Fund (ICDF) and brought together officials from some of the nation’s diplomatic allies, diplomatic corp alongside academics to discuss related issues.
In his speech, Ma said Taiwan understands that “aid is vital to a country’s development” because Taiwan was a recipient of aid for more than 50 years and thus “I want to assure you that we will continue to help our friends.”