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Africa Policy Journal

Topic / Development and Economic Growth

Former South Korean trade minister urges African countries to focus on exports

Former South Korean minister of trade, Dr. Taeho Bark has encouraged African countries to learn from South Korea by focusing on exports. 

Dr. Bark, a senior visiting scholar, Korea project at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfar Center stated this during a lecture on South Korea’s new external economic strategies at the Kennedy School. 

“At beginning of our economic development in the 60s as you see, we don’t have any resources, but we have a very strong leader who emphasized that we must get out of poverty. We don’t have anything, but we have people. So, we emphasized exports,” Dr. Bark stated

He added that in the 1960s,  South Korea decided to connect with the world through exports. He encouraged developing countries to open up their economy which would help them to be more dynamic.

Today, South Korea is the 10th largest economy in the world. It has a GDP of US $1.79 trillion and GDP per capita of US $34, 757 as of 2021. The trade volume of South Korea is US $1.259 trillion, which is 2.8 percent of the global trade volume and the 8th in the world.