Editor's Comment

Zambia, South Korea ties beneficial

THE Government’s desire to strengthen cooperation with South Korea is noble and should be encouraged.
Stronger relations between the two countries will greatly benefit Zambia.
We welcome the revelation by Minister of Foreign Affairs Harry Kalaba that the Government wants to learn from South Korea how to add value to raw materials such as copper, manganese, cotton and many others.
Mr Kalaba was speaking when he met South Korean special envoy Cho Zi Hwan in Lusaka last Saturday.
Indeed there are many lessons Zambia can learn from South Korea which has developed a robust manufacturing industry, earning millions of dollars in exports.
Similarly, Zambia has embarked on an ambitious industrialisation programme, which is being spearheaded by the Zambia Development Agency and the Citizens Economic Empowerment Commission (CEEC).
The programme is inclined towards value addition as a job creation vehicle.
CEEC is establishing industrial clusters in each of the country’s 10 provinces on the basis of the natural resources found there.
As it implements this programme Zambia will need the expertise of countries such as South Korea, which have already gone through similar processes.
And it is evident that there is already plenty of good will from that country, going by the pronouncements of Mr Cho.
The Korean envoy encouraged Zambia to take advantage of the Korean Economic Development Fund whose aim is to improve security systems for public administration.
We are aware also that South Korea operates some of the most successful small and medium-scale enterprises in the world, which absorb thousands of unemployed citizens each year.
But one remarkable attribute of that great nation is its resilience.
Over the years it has weathered numerous economic crises and political destabilisation from a neighbouring country to become a developed nation.
It is one of the world’s wealthiest nations, and is a member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the G-20 major economies. South Korea has a market economy that ranks 15th in the world by nominal GDP and 12th by purchasing power parity (PPP).
It has a fully developed market and high-income economy, and is the only developed country so far to have been included in the group of Next Eleven countries.
Also, it had one of the world’s fastest growing economies from the early 1960s to the late 1990s, and is still one of the fastest growing developed countries in the 2000s.
South Koreans refer to this growth as the Miracle on the Han River of Heavy-Chemical Industry Drive.
The country has almost no natural resources and always suffering from overpopulation in its small territory, which deterred continued population growth and the formation of a large internal consumer market.
But it adapted an export-oriented economic strategy to fuel its economy, and in 2012, it was the seventh largest exporter and seventh largest importer in the world.
It can, therefore, be seen that Zambia has picked the right partner.
It will also be important to revisit some of the commitments and agreements signed between the two countries when President Sata visited that country about two years ago.
There is need to actualise the agreements, especially those that have the potential to boost Zambia’s economic development and create jobs.
The Zambian government, through the ZDA and other public and private bodies, should facilitate South Korean trade missions to Zambia.
Such missions should explore Zambia’s vast natural resources.
Mr Kalaba has outlined some of the sectors and areas that would benefit from such the cooperation.  Zambia is on the right track.

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