JB asks Korea’s cooperation agency to open office in Malawi

President Dr Joyce Banda has requested for the opening of Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) to assist government and other organisations easily access funding from the agency.

Speaking to Malawian press at the end of her trip to South Korea on Friday, President Banda said during her discussions with the President of Korea, Lee Myung-Bak, she requested for opening of KOICA office in Malawi because she noted that it was difficult to access funding for different development projects.

“I have asked President Lee for the opening of KOICA and I am informed that in fact they did not open an office because we didn’t ask. They don’t open an office in a country where they have not received any request,” President Banda said.

KOICA is a centralized organisation to implement and monitor Korea assistance programmes under auspices of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MOFAT) in South Korea. It implements grant aid and technical cooperation programme of the Republic of Korea thereby contributing to strengthening the cooperative relationship between Korea and developing countries and promotes socio-economic advancement of the recipient countries.

President Banda receives a gift from Lee
President Banda receives a gift from Lee


The President also took advantage of her visit to Korea where she initially went to deliver a keynote address at the 2013 Special Olympics Global Summit in PyeongChang to visit Korea Saemaul Undong Centre which runs New Village Movement and has requested for introduction of the concept in Malawi. She also invited leader the movement, Lee Jai-Chang to visit Malawi.

“I also requested the President to assist in introducing this (new village) concept back home,” she said.

The New Village Project, which is somehow similar to the Japanese One Village One Product (OVOP), has the capacity to transform lives of rural Malawians and it works on the pillars of self-help, diligence and cooperation.

“My agenda is to eradicate poverty in Malawi and my agenda is to change people’s mindset for them to know that no one will do it for us,” she said when she visited the institute.

President of Korea Saemaul Undong Centre, Lee Jai-Chang thanked the Malawi leader for her interest in the works of the centre and gave the assurance that the project will be introduced in Malawi.

“People should work with their own hands, but indeed they should be propelled by strong political will,” Lee said in agreement with similar sentiment Malawian leader expressed.

The Saemaul Undong, or New Community Movement, was initiated by President Park Chung Hee, the father of the South Korea newly elected President Park Geun Hye, in the early 1970s.

A close look at the Saemaul Undong is the success achieved by Korea in a relatively short time in raising incomes and improving living standards in rural areas thus narrowing the urban-rural divide.

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