African countries could benchmark Saemaeul plan

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African countries could benchmark Saemaeul plan

The Saemaeul Movement, a campaign launched by former President Park Chung Hee in the 1970s to develop rural areas, will be benchmarked by African leaders. Gumi, North Gyeongsang, from which the scheme originated, will be visited by 13 African ambassadors to Korea this Friday for two days, according to a government source.

“The African ambassadors to Korea from Gabon, Kenya, Sudan and the Republic of South Africa, to name a few, will experience and learn about the essence of the Samaeul Movement,” the government official said. “And methods of application to African countries will be discussed.”

The trip will include a visit to the Saemaeul Movement Memorial Hall and a lecture on the Saemaeul Movement’s success followed by a debate. A visit to Samsung and LG Electronics factories in the Gumi industrial complex is also on the itinerary.

Korea’s stellar economic development in the 1970s was partly based on rural development. Park Chung Hee proposed the new community development plan on April 22, 1970, leading to a modernization movement in Korea.

African nations have been showing great interest in the Korea’s rural development methods, according to government officials.

“This year celebrates the 40th anniversary of the Saemaeul Movement, and African countries consider Korea as a desirable model for economic growth,” the government official said. “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has been sending high-ranking officials to Africa this year to pass on information about the Saemaeul Movement.”

Shin Kak-soo, the first vice minister of foreign affairs and trade, paid a visit to four African countries in January this year, including to the Republic of Ghana, Kenya and South Africa, to discuss measures for applying the essence of the Saemaeul Movement to the African nations.

The government plans to increase the number of African nations that will receive official development assistance from five to nine, and aid will be increased by $10 million in addition to last year’s $1 billion.

The government will strongly support African nations to develop rural areas using Saemaeul-modeled economic development plans.

By Kang Chan-ho []
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