Africa looks to take page from Saemaul movement

By Shin Hyon-hee
  • Published : Jul 29, 2014 - 20:56
  • Updated : Jul 29, 2014 - 20:56
Nineteen officials from six African countries pledged to spur rural reform and boost their local economies by taking a page from Korea’s development book at a seminar hosted by the Korea International Cooperation Agency on Tuesday.

The state grant aid agency has been running the two-week session for officials from Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Senegal, Tanzania and Uganda who are in charge of the Millennium Villages Project, which aims to help rural African communities shake off poverty. 
Kim Young-mok, president of the Korea International Cooperation Agency, speaks during a seminar with development officials from Africa hosted by the state grant aid agency at its headquarters on Tuesday in Seongnam, Gyeonggi Province. (KOICA)

The program included tours to a local agricultural school, a university and Cheongdo, the town in North Gyeongsang Province that served as the cradle of the Saemaul Movement, an agricultural and rural reform campaign in the 1970-80s.

At the end of the period, the participants held a seminar with KOICA officials to share their experiences and introduce future plans for the development of their respective homelands.

“I will instill Korea’s ‘Can Do’ spirit into the relevant officials in Uganda and educate them on the concept of the Saemaul Movement,” Mwanika Francis of Mbarara, Uganda, was quoted by KOICA as saying at the meeting.

“In particular, I would benchmark the competition between the model villages of the Saemaul Movement to motivate them and improve the efficiency.”

George Sempeho, an adviser to Tanzania’s MVP team, stressed the need to transform the people’s mindset in order to bring about economic growth.

“As the participants are the hands-on workers in (addressing) the issue, they will be able to make the most out of this training when they return home.”

By Shin Hyon-hee (