Building Partnerships for Change: Learning From Korea

Former Deputy Prime Minister of Korea speaks at ACET.

January 25, 2012, Accra: Former Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Korea, Prof. Okyu Kwon, has said that public private partnerships will thrive better on the continent if African governments provide leadership that inspires confidence in the private sector.

Prof. Kwon who now leads the Knowledge Sharing Program (KSP) at the KAIST Graduate of School of Finance, was speaking to a select group of Ghanaian economic leaders on“Korea’s Infrastructure Development Experience:  Lessons for Africa’s Developing Economies”. His presentation focused on how Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangements helped promote investments in infrastructure in Korea.

Korea, he noted, has had significant success with PPPs. Over the last 15 years more than 250 PPP projects – about 16 a year – have been completed to provide services to the public across a broad range of sectors. The proportion of private investment also rose by 12%.

The presentation singled out the civil service as the bedrock for success in Korea. The country has a highly motivated, merit-based civil service that recruits the best talent through a highly competitive national civil service entry examination. Typically, 300,000 candidates sit the exams, out of which 150 are shortlisted and the top 10 are normally recruited into the Ministry of Finance.

Prof. Kwon thinks this is a key learning point for African countries and is keen to help create opportunities for further training to strengthen the civil service of countries such as Ghana.

He mentioned three key factors which have enabled PPPs to succeed in Korea. First, there was a sound legal framework with a strong regulator. Second, a special a supporting agency was created to provide technical and professional support to PPP projects. Third, the state provided a reasonable level of financial and risk sharing incentives to attract the private sector.

Dr. Yaw Ansu, the Chief Economist at the African Center for Economic Transformation (ACET) believes that Korea’s model is especially relevant to most countries in Africa. Not only did Korea transform itself from a poor to an OECD economy in one generation; it did that while also transforming itself from a military dictatorship to a democracy, that supports a vibrant private sector. ACET is currently developing a south-south peer learning program for policymakers and private sector leaders to engage with other emerging countries.

Click here to read Prof. Kwon's presentation.

The event which was chaired by ACET’s Chief Economist, Dr. Yaw Ansu was attended by government policymakers, members of parliament, business leaders and experts from leading think tanks.


  1. Avatar Emmanuel Sarpong says:

    I should be glad to have a copy of- Building Partnerships for Change: Learning From Korea for personal study


Have your say here:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *