In November 2009, many experts from the OECD and World Bank, and policy makers from recipient countries of the KSP (Knowledge Sharing Program) program gathered in Seoul, Korea to the KSP Seminar with World Bank. It was a seminar co-hosted by the MOSF (Ministry of Strategy and Finance), the KDI (Korea Development Institute) and the World Bank. Mete Cakmakci from Turkey, Vu Van Hoa from Philippine, and Ernesto Torres from Dominica made presentation. After their presentation, interesting questions and debates were followed. Speakers all agreed that the KSP provided by Rep. of Korea was really helpful for their countries to strengthen their economic engine and they want to maintain this close relationship.
The Foundation Background of KSP
Knowledge is at the base of effective national development policy. Recognizing this, international organizations are implementing knowledge-sharing programs like the KSP as a primary medium for enhancing national competitiveness. In particular, many developing countries have taken great interest in the Korean economic development model, having witnessed Korea’s historic transition from an underdeveloped country to a donor nation in just a few decades.
Known by the above figure, Rep. of Korea showed positive economic growth almost all periods except four crises such as 1973 and 1979 oil crisis, 1997 financial crisis, and subprime mortgage crisis. By this extraordinary economic growth, Rep. of Korea surpassed and stimulated competitors. This is unmasked by the statement of Philippine’s director, ”About 50 years ago, South Korea was underdeveloped compared to the Philippine. However, the situation reversed. Once we researched severely to find the reason.”
To meet the needs of other nations’ interest, the Korean government has since actively supported various cooperation programs aimed at sharing development know-how, assisting Development Partnership Countries and working toward lessening the knowledge divide. The KDI, in close cooperation with the World Bank then incorporated these efforts into the Knowledge Partnership Program, which has pursued poverty reduction and the construction of knowledge-based economies since its establishment in 2002.
In an effort to share Korea’s economic development experiences, the Ministry of Strategy and Finance of the Rep. of Korea launched a more specialized Knowledge Sharing Program in 2004, with the KDI. This technical assistance program draws from Korea’s policy-making experiences and provides government officials of DPCs with research findings, recommendations, and training activities on specific issues relevant to the target country.
The Project Cycle of KSP
The overarching goal of the KSP is to assist in enhancing national development capacity and the institutional restructuring efforts of the development partnership countries by sharing Korea’s development experience. To be specific, it is essential to seek relevant solutions for current policy issues based on economic analysis and to put forth concrete recommendations for converting these theory-based circumstances to actual situational solutions. To achieve this goal, KSP is classified into four sophisticated system which is applicable to the real donating system.
The first step is “Demand Identification.” The objective of this step is to seek out the key areas of interest in which the DPC is most interested in receiving consultation. To be specific, written Demand Survey Form will be sent to relevant government ministries/ institutions through the Korean Embassy of DPC. The temporary coordinating agency or the counterpart organization will also be sent the Priority List of Demand Survey.
The second step is “Policy Research.” Policy Research has three sub-steps and each sub-step ordered by time schedule. The first sub-step is “Pilot Study” and it is preliminary step of next two steps and has three objectives such as to identify relating sub-issues regarding national policy priorities of DPC, to collect policy and economic data, and to recruit local consultants and finalized the MOU. To meet these goals, Korean experts group meet with related persons, visit organizations and sites in DPC. And then, they conduct in-depth survey and data collection.
The second sub-step is “Interim Reporting Workshop.” In this sub-step, Korea considers two points. One is to make a presentation on sectoral research, based on previous results, or pilot study and the other is to gain feedback and comments to be applied to the research. To achieve these goals, both parties make a presentation of results and Korea invites other relevant specialists to the workshop for further comments and collects further data through meeting other relevant persons, visiting organizations and sites.
The third sub-step is “Final Reporting Workshop.” This sub-step is the last step of “Policy Research” therefore the main goal of this sub-step is to summarize all the previous sub-steps. To be specific, results and comments from the previous research and workshops will be combined and presented by the Korean experts group.
The third step is “Policy Consultation.” This step has also two sub-steps: “Policy Practitioners Workshop” and “Senior Policy Dialogues.” The main goal of these two steps is to determine the practical methods or policies to support DPC. Therefore, the principal difference with prior steps, “Policy Research” is to determine specific ways as a working level.
The first sub-step is “Policy Practitioners Workshop.” In this step, DPC participants will engage in dialogue with relevant Korean officials and visit. The second sub-step is “Senior Policy Dialogues.” In this step, opposed to previous sub-step, Korean experts visit to DPC and present results followed by Q&A session.
The last step is “Monitoring & Evaluation.” The main goal of this step is to assess efficiency and effectiveness through monitoring the stages and usefulness, relevancy and sustainability through evaluation step. By this evaluating, parties will debate about building upon possible follow up programs. To do this, questionnaires and interviews will be conducted at each stage of the cycle by KDI and MOSF publish summary of policy and monitoring results.
The present state of things in Korea
As we have seen above, “Knowledge Sharing Program” started in 2004 and this project is still under active progress. Till 2008, Korean government has provided 83 projects of 13 nations. We can summarize all the results of projects with following table.
The scope of these projects is much wiser and wiser as time goes by. At the first year of this project, two nations were supported by this program. The projects about Vietnam were focusing on the reformation and innovation of public enterprises and the stabilization of macroeconomics, whereas the projects about Uzbekistan were focusing on the industrial development and export promoting policy. Therefore, the experts needed in these periods were the macroeconomist and industrial technicians. However, the main goal of the projects about Algeria, two years later, was to develop credit card market and to construct private CSS (Credit Scoring System). Thus, the essential experts in these projects were financial specialists.
So far, KSP has made progress in both quantity and quality. The number of participating countries increased, and the total budget of this project has increased since its foundation. Also most of participants are satisfied with this program’s achievement and they want to maintain this close relationship even after the projects are over. However, to keep this momentum, the MOSF has to expand and improve the talent pool as a donor. Recipient countries need to be more diversified and MOSF will lose its momentum if they cannot meet the demands of counterparties.