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00707012
2011.11
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KOREAN

Benchmark Korea’s Successful Development Strategy  Latin American Officials Attend ‘Vision Sharing Program’  Senior government officials responsible for formulating development strategies of Latin American countries visited Korea during the week of September 18-24 to attend a program for sharing Korea’s development experience, at the invitation of the Korea Foundation and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. As a retired Korean IT specialist, I accompanied Dominican Public Administration Minister Manuel Ramon Ventura Camejo during his visit. Following are some of my thoughts about the “Vision Sharing Program for National Development.”  Senior Latin American officials participate in the “Korea-Central/South America Strategic Dialogue” session to discuss regional cooperative relations.


Ruben Dario Cruz, chair of the Senate Committee on Balanced National Development, left; and Manuel Ramon Ventura Camejo, Minister of Public Administration, Dominican RepublicMy Personal Ties with the
Dominican Republic

When I heard that I was invited to attend the Korea Foundation’s “Vision Sharing Program for National Development” for senior Latin American officials, what popped up in my mind was the exciting image of Korea during the 2002 World Cup tournament, when soccer fever swept the nation. At the time, the slogan “Dreams Come True!” resonated across Korea, as its national team advanced to the semifinals for the first time. Why did I recall this? It was probably because I thought my personal belief would come true through the KF program.


After retiring from the National IT Industry Promotion Agency, affiliated to the Ministry of Knowledge Economy, I was dispatched to the Dominican Republic’s Ministry of Public Administration (MPA) to serve as a consultant for its development of e-government and nationwide IT initiatives. Therefore, this was my second assignment in that Latin American country.

This time round, my foremost concern has been how much I would be able to contribute to promoting bilateral exchanges and invigorating industries in this rather small country, whose territory amounts to half that of Korea and population stands at about 10 million people. More specifically, I wondered how I could help this country to make as much, or even more, progress than Korea in terms of the development of its economy and IT efforts? Hence, whenever I met with MPA officials, I hoped that there would be an opportunity for their minister and chief of the IT division, among other officials, to visit Korea. So, now this hope of mine has finally been realized.

From an Aid Recipient to a Donor Country


Before leaving for Korea as a member of the delegation, I gave two lectures
for the faculty and students at Iberoamerican University (UNIBE) and for MPA
officials, including the minister, vice minister, and division heads, on a
variety of Korea-related topics, such as Korea’s development, national
informatization program, public administration, and civil service system,
as well as the electronic information system for civil matters.


Only a half century ago, when Korea was one of the
world’s poorest countries, it received $10,000 in financial
support from Dominica and another $2,000 from Haiti.
Today, however, Korea has become the world’s 13th-largest
economy, and even hosted the G20 summit in Seoul in 2010.
Korea has also become the first country to transform itself
from a beneficiary to a donor of international assistance
since the launch of the OECD in 1961.


These facts seem to have drawn a keen interest
of Dominican government officials, as the two
countries share resemblances in their history
and geopolitical circumstances. As such,
there was a clear sense of eagerness to
learn from and benchmark Korea, among the
groups of ministerial and high-ranking officials
from Dominica as well as other Latin American nations.

The delegation members discussed the cooperative relations between Korea and their region and other issues of mutual concern with representatives of Korean government agencies and public institutions, including the Ministry of Knowledge Economy, Presidential Council for Future and Vision, and the Korea Development Institute. They were briefed on Korea’s economicdevelopment planning, the vital role of education in the development process, and the strategy for the export sector and key industries, and had comprehensive debates on measures to expand bilateral exchanges and cooperation. They also met Korean industrialists and politicians.

The delegation also visited the major industrial sites of Hyundai Motor, Hyundai Heavy Industries, and SK Energy. I felt satisfied and even proud during the tours as they systematically, and in considerable detail, touched uponwhat I had personally wanted to convey to the visitors from developing countries in Latin America.

José Guillermo López Suárez, Minister of Agriculture, Republic of El Salvador, Jose Francisco Zelaya, Minister of Trade and Industry, left; and Mario Rene Pineda, Minister of Rural and Regional Development, Republic of Honduras


Latin America’s Value to Korean Industry

The Latin American delegation’s visit to Korea is certainly expected to bring about effects that are tens or hundreds of times greater than the time and costs incurred by host Korea and other participating nations. On the last day of their visit, at a farewell dinner hosted by the president of the Korea Foundation, the Dominican minister of public administration said he would try to make his country “the Korea of Latin America and the Caribbean.”

It is important to invest in large countries that are rich in natural resources, like Brazil and Argentina, to create opportunities for substantial economic gains. At the same time, however, it should also be noted that investment in small Latin American countries, which seek to follow in Korea’s footstep, can considerably enhance our competitiveness across the region. This kind of program will help upgrade Korea’s image and contribute significantly to expanding exchanges between Korea and developing countries, and invigorating industrial activity for both sides.

I would like to express my gratitude to the Korea Foundation and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade for hosting this program. As theonly Korean in the delegation, I also extend my sincere appreciation to all the organizations and other people involved, who exerted their utmost efforts for the success of the program.

Excerpts from Dominican MPA Minister Manuel Ramon Ventura Camejo’s interview with a local TV station:

“In Korea, diverse government agencies are making joint efforts for national development, with mid- to long-term visions for the next 20 to 40 years. Korea’s success in economic development can be attributed to a combination of various factors, such as development plans at the state level, industrialization, land development, the Saemaul rural development program, and leadership. But, education seems to have played the most crucial role. My visit to Korea was a valuable opportunity to look closely into the country’s economic development experiences, and to reaffirm that countries like the Dominican Republic can learn many things from Korea.”

Jang Heung-yeol Civil Service and ICT Expert, Dominican Republic

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