SEOUL, Nov. 2 (Korea Bizwire) – South Korea in 2017 boasts a highly efficient technological infrastructure that is the envy of many countries. However, much like its economic rise out of the ashes of the Korean War, the “Miracle on the Han River”, the nation of technology heavyweights like Samsung and LG built up its technological prowess from very humble beginnings.
According to the Ministry of Interior and Safety (MIS), the first computer to be used by the government was the IBM 1401 on June 24, 1967, brought in to the offices of the Economic Planning Board (now Ministry of Finance and Economy) to be employed in statistical analysis of demographics data, a move that in hindsight signifies the birth of “electronic government” as designated by the MIS.
The introduction of computing technology slowly but surely led to electronic government’s expansion into the private and public sector. In the 1980′s, the government prioritized the computerization of backbone industries like automobile manufacturing and real estate; by the next decade, major government ministries had adopted the computer for administrative duties.
Once a country lagging behind its peers, South Korea distinguished itself from the pack in 2000, when the National Assembly voted in the Electronic Government Act, the first piece of legislation of its kind ever passed.
Following its passage into law, the Electronic Government Act ignited the government’s efforts to technologize the country. Going beyond computers, a high-speed communications network that linked central and local governing bodies and the public and private sphere was developed, directly enhancing overall efficiency nationwide.
The world was not blind to South Korea’s efforts; the UN in its biennial E-government survey ranked South Korea first from 2010 through 2014. Global recognition has in turn attracted fellow countries interested in learning the tricks of the trade, so much so that the South Korean government has signed 55 MOUs with 47 countries and four international organizations. In addition, since 1998, 4,446 visitors hailing from 145 countries have visited South Korea to learn the secrets behind its electronic government success.
Electronic government is proving to be a financially viable endeavor as well. Exports pertaining to electronic government are a steadily increasing moneymaker for the government, with $2.3 billion in revenue as of 2015.
The Electronic Government Act was revised by the MIS to include a provision that June 24 be henceforth designated as “Electronic Government Day”.