OECD, Korea to build development model for poor nations

By Korea Herald
  • Published : Jan 6, 2014 - 20:34
  • Updated : Jan 6, 2014 - 20:34
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development will formulate a rural development model based on South Korea‘s rags-to-riches growth story to help underdeveloped nations overcome poverty, Seoul’s Foreign Ministry said Monday.

As part of the OECD-Seoul government deal forged last month, Mario Pezzini, director of the OECD Development Centre, will fly to Seoul to deliver an OECD-signed copy of the agreement and hold a seminar on the project Thursday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

Pezzini will also hold a meeting with Vice Foreign Minister Cho Tae-yul during his trip.

Under the deal, the OECD will study South Korea‘s so-called Saemaul Movement, or New Village Movement, the signature rural area development policy launched in the 1970s by then South Korean leader Park Chung-hee, father of the incumbent President Park Geun-hye.

The OECD plans to publish its report on the study by late 2015, according to the ministry.

The village unit-based development policy, adopted when South Korea was still war-torn and poverty-stricken, was one of the driving forces behind the country’s much-lauded, speedy economic growth, often dubbed the Miracle on the Han.

South Korea will contribute $800,000 to the $1 million project, with the remainder to be funded by the OECD.

The Asian country also forged a similar agreement with the U.N. Development Program last year.

The report may delve into how South Korea‘s development experience can be applied to other underdeveloped or developing countries in the context of the 21st century, said Oh Yeoung-ju, directer at the ministry’s development policy division.

The major pillar of success in the South Korean policy was the country‘s abundant social capital, Oh said, citing autonomous participation by rural area workers, the government’s political commitment to jump-starting the economy and strong rural area leadership.

“Two-thirds of the world‘s population in poverty are from rural areas,” Oh said. “Recently a lot of focus has been put on poverty in urban areas, but developing rural areas is still the most essential in eradicating absolute poverty from the globe.” (Yonhap News)