Seamless execution of economic development plans fueled Korea’s development – Ambassador
He said success of the “Saumaul Undong” – a State-led rural development moment – which began in the early 1970s was the secret to the country’s development.
Mr Lim, speaking at a lecture to mark the 2023 Korea Week at the University of Ghana, said the “Saumaul Undong” (New Village Movement), a rural community development was initiated to improve the basic living conditions and environmental cleanliness of villages and to increase community incomes.
The Ambassador’s lecture was preceded by a “Quiz on Korea” to examine Ghanaian contestants on their knowledge of Korean history and culture.
Ms Samantha Kyei, a 24-year-old data analyst emerged winner of the competition, which would see her visit Korea.
Korea plans to host the World EXPO 2030 in Busan, which will provide an opportunity for all participants to witness a new future as rapid and wide-spread transformation unfolds around the world, utilising new technologies such as AI, IoT and 6G.
The Korean Government carried out seven “Five-Year Development Plans” from 1962 to 1997 during which the country’s Gross National Income per capita jumped 114-fold and trade volumes soared as much as 560-fold in 36 years.
That, the Ambassador said, led to the reconstruction of 30,000 traditional houses, roads and community wells, which had served as a core model for Korea’s projects.
Also, Mr Lim said the relentless technological development by Korean companies and the vigorous global market entry played a crucial role in driving the country’s economic development.
“They made significant strides in research and development, resulting in breakthroughs in industries such as shipbuilding, automobile, semiconductors and electric vehicles,” he said, adding that the emphasis on innovation had strengthened Korea’s competitiveness on the global stage.
Moreover, the Ambassador said, “companies like POSCO, Hyundai, Samsung, LG diversified their business portfolios, expanded into global markets and became worldwide.”
Importantly, he said the enthusiasm of Koreans for education and their strong work ethic had been a significant factor in the country’s economic development.
“Korea’s investment in education has been a cornerstone of its success,” Mr Lim said.
He said the government implemented policies emphasising on education from an early stage, resulting in a highly educated workforce that provided a competitive advantage.
The Ambassador said the country’s high literacy rate and emphasis on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education contributed to its technological advancements.
“Indeed, Koreans’ hard work, diligence, dedication and strong sense of community also led to Korea’s astonishing economic growth,” he said, and that in the process of economic development, Korea had faced crises from time to time.
However, Mr Lim said, Korea’s economy had demonstrated remarkable resilience and recovery, and that the Asian financial crisis in 1997 and global financial crisis in 2008 tested Korea’s ability to rebound.
In developing the next growth engine and as technology changed rapidly, the Ambassador said, Korea was actively embracing the 4th industrial revolution, focusing on areas like Artificial Intelligence, 5G Technology, renewable energy, and autonomous vehicles.
In that regard, he said the Korean government had introduced policies and initiatives to support startups and nurture a vibrant startup ecosystem.
Mr Lim said the Korean economic journey from post-war devastation to becoming a global economic powerhouse was a testament to the resilience, innovation, and hard work of the Korean people.
He said: “With a strong foundation, investment in human resources, a focus on technological advancements, and the ability to adapt during crises, Korea has overcome numerous challenges.
“As Korea embraces the future with a strong commitment to innovation, sustainability, and global engagement, it continues to pave the way for economic successes.”