Korea and Uganda bolstered rural development cooperation as the two countries’ leaders attended a ceremony Monday to celebrate the opening of a center, built by the South Korean government in Kampiringisa in Mpigi District, to train leaders in agriculture.
President Park Geun-hye and Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni attended the ceremony to launch the National Farmers’ Leadership Center in Uganda, aimed at becoming a hub in Africa for Korea’s Saemaul Undong project, also known as the New Village Movement, which helps rural communities guide their own development.
The two leaders, during their summit in Kampala earlier this week, agreed to expand cooperation in bringing Korea’s Saemaul project to Uganda.
The leadership center, located some 50 kilometers (31 miles) away from Uganda’s capital, Kampala, is the first of its kind to train leaders on the Saemaul movement in Africa, and was constructed by the Korea International Cooperation Agency (Koica), an implementing agency using grant aid under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Uganda adopted the Saemaul movement in 2009, and it has spread to some 30 model villages since then.
Korea also launched during this visit to the three African countries a new form of official development assistance (ODA), which offers medical, food and cultural promotion services.
Park also attended the launching of the Korea Aid project in Uganda, near the leadership center. This was Park’s last day in Uganda, the second stop of her three-nation African tour, which kicked off Wednesday in Ethiopia.
Park later departed for Kenya, her last stop before she heads to France. The Korean government announced its plans to increase their ODA budget to 2.7 trillion won ($2.26 billion) for next year, up 10.6 percent from this year.
The amount allocated for Saemaul Undong will be increased to 62.9 billion won in 2017, 4.4 times the current amount.
The Saemaul initiative was launched in 1970 by then-President Park Chung-hee, father of the incumbent president, in order to modernize Korea’s rural economy.
This is part of the larger objective of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted by world leaders in a summit last year to end poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and tackle climate change by 2030.