Devnet – Part 1 – South Korea has set an example for developing countries in the world.

by DEVNET Japan

Yoo, Jong-Hae – Former Dean of Graduate School of Public Administration – Professor Emeritus of Yonsei University

South Korea has finally become a developed country, and the old dream of the Korean people to become a developed country has finally come true. On July 2, 2021, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) passed a project to change South Korea’s status from a developing country to Group B, a developed country. Since UNCTAD was founded in 1964, South Korea is the first country to change its status from a developing country to a developed country.

Until now, South Korea belonged to “Group A”, which mainly includes developing countries such as Asia and Africa. However, the board of directors of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) unanimously passed the change that South Korea belongs to “Group B” to which 31 developed countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom and Japan belong. With South Korea joining Group B, Group B has become 32 countries. South Korea and Japan are the only Asian countries that belong to Group B.

UNCTAD is an intergovernmental organization under the United Nations established to promote and support industrialization and participation in international trade in developing countries. It supports policy research on trade and development and technical cooperation for developing countries. There are 195 member countries, and South Korea joined in March 1964.

The Korean word ‘sŏn-jin-guk’ is expressed in English as “Developed country” or “Advanced country”. A country that is not a developed country is called an “under-developed” or “developing country”.

In general, developed countries refer to countries with highly developed economies, industrialization and economic systems. When I was studying in the doctoral program at the University of Michigan, I once studied Developing Country Economy as a minor. At that time, I was an international student, and I was very envious of the United States, which was a developed country.

Developed countries do not simply mean countries that are rich, strong, well-capitalized, and have high production scale and income. For example, according to the indicators of developed economies released by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the population exceeds 1.4 billion, and China, which boasts the world’s second largest gross domestic product (GDP), and one oil money. Countries such as Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, which have the highest GDP per capita in the world, are not classified as developed countries. There are many other things to consider.

The standards of developed countries are GDP per capita, Human Development Index (HDI), High Income Economic Cooperation and Development Organization (OECD) National Group defined by IMF, and Development Assistance Committee (DAC). ) And so on. The United Nations (UN) Human Development Index (HDI) is fair because it is calculated from the education index, expected lifespan index, and geometric mean (geometric mean) of Gross National Income (GNI).

It is difficult to objectively show the exact value standard and the degree of economic development that meet the regulations of developed countries. However, the GDP, Human Development Index, Quality of Life Index (PQLI), etc. presented above are taken into consideration.

Until now, South Korea has made constant efforts to become a developed country. If you look at the path that South Korea has taken, you can see why it is called the “miracle of the Han River.” After the country was abandoned in the 6.25 incident (Korean War) in 1950, South Korea’s GDP per capita was only $ 66 (about 7,254 yen) in 1993, but as a result of steady efforts, 2020 It has achieved 34,000 dollars (about 3.73 million yen), and during this period it has grown about 510 times.

GDP also achieved a feat of 40,000 times increase from 47.7 billion won (about 4.5 billion yen) in 1953 to 1,933 trillion won (about 185 trillion yen) in 2019 based on Korean currency, and it is also ranked in the world GDP ranking in 1953. It rose from 109th place in the year to 10th place in 2020. Meanwhile, in 1996, he joined the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) called the Developed Country Club. However, some criticized that OECD accession was too early.

In 2009, it became a member of the Development Assistance Committee within the OECD and changed from a “country receiving assistance” to a “country providing assistance”. South Korea is the only country that has become a country that

receives aid in just 70 years. In addition, South Korea has become the sixth OECD country to provide aid for trade, transforming from a country that exported agriculture, livestock and marine products to a country that mainly exports cutting-edge products such as semiconductors, electronics and automobiles. However, the people themselves should be proud that they have become the 7th most advanced nation in the world’s export value.

In terms of GDP, South Korea ranks within the top 10 of the 195 countries in the world, and its per capita gross national income (GNI) has overtaken Italy, which is a member of the seven major countries (G7). Australia, South Africa and South Korea were invited to the G7 Summit again this year. The United Nations’ decision to enter South Korea as a developed country is an event that leaves a great mark on the modern history of South Korea and is a commemorative event in the history of international trade.