How to use Korea's Economic Development Experiences

November 9, 2021

By Maria Veronica VELANDIA REVELO, 2021 GMPA Student(Public Management and Public Sector Reforms)

Sharing experiences of

Korean economic development to developing countries

In frame of the GMPA special lecture Meeting with the Leaders of Korean Public Organizations, the third presentation, titled “How to share Korea’s Economic Development Experiences”, was conducted by Mr. Taeho Kim, Executive Vice President for Economic Cooperation and Trade Affairs of KOTRA (Korea Trade Investment Promotion Agency).

The lecture addressed relevant elements according to three main aspects: 1) Introduction about KOTRA, 2) Korea’s Economic Development from 1950s to the present and 3) Insights about the Knowledge Sharing Program (KSP). In this order of ideas, Mr. Kim provided several contributions about KOTRA’s work, located in 84 countries, its main goal is the promotion of national trade investment, focusing in areas such as export support, business partnerships, sustainable growth business, among others.

Regarding the key factors that enabled the Korean economic development, the strong governmental policy and Presidential commitment in monitoring the 5year Economic Plan were highlighted, together with other factors as the temporal and political international context that enabled the process of industrial transformation and export orientation. In this sense, since 2004 Korea has created and implemented the KSP, as a unique platform to transfer its knowledge of development experiences to developing countries. KSP’s main role nowadays is not only to provide advice and suggestions to governments, but to work together in the implementation of demand-based cooperation programs. By 2021 KSP has reached 87 partner countries.

It is important to remark that even though the Korean economic success can’t be replied in all contexts, since many historical factors played a crucial role, there are elements such us leadership and strong policy making and monitoring, that concern the public sector, where public officials have voice and action; hence their skills formation could be crucial in transforming a country positively. Moreover, the appropriate design and implementation of international cooperation programs as the KSP, are important tools that could lead to an effective transformation of strategic development areas. Nevertheless, as discussed in the lecture, in order to reach national development goals, the commitment and cooperative work between private and public sector is necessary, as the Korean experience shows.

As a conclusion, this lecture has provided important inside glances of the economic development of Korea, its current work in order to maintain its competitiveness internationally and the cooperation program for sharing development experiences. Although many factors can be considered, the role of each sector in the society is important to reach a common final goal. In this sense, changing people’s minds towards working together “as one”, as expressed by Mr. Kim, is a powerful aspect that shouldn’t be underestimated.