Letter from Our Alumni
- Ismaila Diatta
Volunteer Program Manager
Directorate of Technical Cooperation
Secretariat General of the Presidency
of the Republic
- From Seongnam to Wanju: Immersion in Korea’s Local Administration Model
- Within the framework of technical cooperation between the Republic of Korea and Senegal regarding capacity building, a training session was organized from May 14 to June 2, 2017, in the Republic of Korea in the field of local public administration.
- Nineteen participants from six African countries (Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Mali, Democratic Republic of Congo, Senegal, and Uganda) took part in this training. I was part of the five-man Senegalese delegation, which left Dakar on May 12 and I am very pleased to share my experience at LOGODI.
- Even though I had gone to Korea before to attend a training session at Kyungwon University’s Saemaul Academy back in 2013, this journey was special in several aspects. Theoretical lectures complete with field visits were the menu of this unforgettable experience in a warm, welcoming country, where every detail is result-oriented.
- From our first day to the last, we were carefully taken care of by KOICA as well as LOGODI’s professional staff. This contribution is also my congratulation to all these people—LOGODI staff made every effort to put us up in good conditions regardless of some reprehensible misconduct from our side. May you all forgive us!!!
- One of the most impressive things was how religious diversity was respected—at ICC as well as at LOGODI’s Wanju Headquarters, all arrangements were made to facilitate the practice of everyone’s religion. Prayer rooms for all religions were available and special arrangements were made for Muslims during Ramadan.
- Many lessons can be learned from this inspiring experience, as far as development backgrounds for our countries are concerned:
- • Korea's historical trajectory is similar in many ways to that of many African countries including Senegal. Indeed, it is a country that has experienced poverty, war, and colonization. Therefore, it is a relevant model of economic development for African countries.
• Without any natural resources, Korea was able to focus on the development of human resources through the promotion of education including professional training.
• The "Saemaul Movement," the starting point for integrated development in rural areas, is an example that can be adopted in African villages.
• With 80% of hilly terrain, Korea has been able to be self-sufficient in terms of agricultural production thanks to its intensive agricultural development strategy. With KAFECI, African countries have here an opportunity for cooperation in technology transfer and research.
• Sustainable urban planning backed up by a multimodal transport system serves as a kind of balance between cities and villages.
• Sejong Special Self-Governing City is a concrete example of efficient management in the public sector.
- Putting the people first could be the motto and key for success of the Korean model. I would conclude by assuming that the secret behind Korea’s success is that Korean people are law-abiding and respectful to nature and the environment. They love their country because they know their history. They know how hard life was in the early ‘50s. They know that the current flourishing situation is the result of many sacrifices made by their elders, and everybody wants to be a part of this success. Everyone, everywhere, in every sector, at every level, is aware of his or her contribution to the development of the country and seems to be fully involved in it. This is where Africa has to start from: KNOWING OUR HISTORY. LOVING OUR COUNTRIES IN ORDER TO SACRIFICE FOR THEM.