What can African Nations, Especially Cameroon, Learn From South Korea? – Dr. Javnyuy Joybert

What can African Nations, Especially Cameroon, Learn From South Korea? 

According to Forbes, South Korea intentionally spends 4.5% of its GDP on R&D (Research & Development). 

No doubt South Korea was second in Bloomberg’s 2020 innovation index and took first position in 2021. No doubt South Korea is home to global brands like Samsung, LG, Hyundai and Kia. 

According to the World Bank, 97% of South Korean households access the internet everyday. This sparks a lot of opportunities and value creation in this present dispensation. 

According to Forbes magazine, the country’s emergence as a tech-savvy nation can be traced to the South Korean government’s promotion of conglomerates called chaebols, owned and controlled by South Korean individuals or families. The government pushed the chaebols to invest heavily in R&D that focused on applied knowledge, while shielding them from competition. This pushed the likes of LG and Samsung towards new heavy industries, including petrochemicals, car manufacturing and shipbuilding, as well as consumer electronics.

“African governments should wake up. Africans and Cameroonians should stop voting people to power because they are from their tribes or because they are from a particular political party only. Put competence, experience and vision into perspective” Dr. Javnyuy Joybert 

In South Korea, unless you work for a large conglomerate such as Samsung or Hyundai, or you have a traditional white-collar job such as doctor or lawyer, you cannot get a bank loan. This implies that about 40% of the population cannot secure loans from Tier 1 banks.

The Korean government recognized this serious issue, and moved fast to allow marketplace-lending fintech companies to grow from 2015. There is now a bigger push by the Korean government to foster the growth of fintech. The Korean government has designated fintech as a key driver for economic growth, leading to sweeping regulatory changes over recent years.

This is not to say the South Korean government is perfect. The point I am driving here is, the government is intentional at pushing certain dynamics that will positively serve the citizens and bring economic progress. 

“Any government that fails to influence economic progress for her citizens is a failed government. No government can influence economic progress above the economic competence of the members of that government” Dr. Javnyuy Joybert 

I want to ask basic questions.

1. How much does the Ministry of Scientific Research and Innovation in Cameroon invest in R&D yearly and into which sectors in Cameroon? What quality of research papers does this ministry publish yearly for professionals in various industries to use and make informed decisions? 

2. When last did we hear our government taking intentional actions to push local companies to produce and take the lead in certain sectors and shield these local companies from international companies coming in from China, France etc?

3. When last did we hear our government being proactive in the latest developments for the good of the people. In other countries you hear governments organizing National AI & Machine Learning Summit, National Blockchain Technology Summit, National Fintech and Financial Inclusion Summit. These are platforms to bring together key stakeholders from the entrepreneurship ecosystem, academia and government to design and execute solutions to serve the masses. Well, we also have the fear of these summits holding and ending only on CRTV as national news with no concrete actions. 

4. When last did we see our government easing regulations in core sectors where they are inadequate to boost the particular sector with proper accountability? 

The economy of Cameroon is gasping for change like when someone is gasping for air when they are about to drown. For this change to come, new minds, new frameworks, new policies, new operations etc must be used to create a new playbook. 

Now the South Korean government is on a whole new mission. The big push by the South Korean government is to scale up Korean homegrown fintech startup companies so that they can become major players on the global stage just like the Samsung, LG and their other technologically heavy industries. 

Now I am thinking, will that time ever come when a young man and woman in my village in Nso will build an innovative product and service which will so grow and will be used in New York, Berlin, Manchester, Dubai, Cape Town, Casablanca etc? 

We can learn from others, contextualize to fit our environment and build something incredible. All hands on deck. 


Dr. Javnyuy Joybert


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