Browsing: South Korea

Mozambique defies debt to become Africa's South Korea

Mozambique, until the Covid pandemic happened, was just 7 years shy of matching or exceeding the record set by South Korea.

The pandemic undermined the southern African country’s economic progress by slowing down critical sectors of economic activity namely tourism, construction, transport, as well as a general decline in the demand for commodity exports. The economy of Mozambique was further undermined by the conflict in the northern province of Cabo Delgado.

Statistics on how many people have been displaced by the conflict vary but they range from 250,000 to 1 million people. At least 850,000 people are estimated to have been dragged below the international poverty line because of the conflict.

South Korean industry began with the production of textiles and footwear and then moved into heavy industries like steel, heavy equipment, ships, petrochemicals, electronics, and automobiles by the 1980s.

Africa needs to follow the economic lead of countries like South Korea that developed into advanced states through export-led economic growth and the development of strong domestic economies. South Korea committed to rapid industrialization. This is what caused the economy to take off. However, it is important to note that economic development was also set in motion by leaders who implemented land reform and educational development.

Oxford Research notes, “Industrialization was characterized by a close pattern of cooperation between the state and large family-owned conglomerates known as chaebǒls. This close relationship continued after the transition to democracy in the late 1980s and 1990s but after 1987, labour emerged as a major political force, and rising wages gave further impetus to the development of the more capital-intensive industry.”