Dynamic Korea
By Choi Seok sik, Vice Minister of Science and Technology

According to International Institute for Management 
Development (IMD) World Competitiveness Yearbook(WCY) 2005 released last month in Switzerland, Korea has advanced six notches in the national competitiveness index this year.
IMD said that Korea's competitive ranking improved from 35th in 2004 to 29th this year among 60 major economies of the world. This steep rise is considered remarkable and noteworthy although Thailand (27th) and Malaysia (28th) were evaluated to have better national competitiveness than Korea in the annual report released every May by the Swiss consulting firm.
The IMD grades the 60 countries by assessing them in four categories of economic performance, government efficiency, business efficiency and infrastructure. The criterion of infrastructure is comprised of five factors and two of them are 'technological infrastructure'and 'scientific infrastructure'
At the national policy briefing last March, it was reported to President Roh that the competitiveness of science would be elevated to 16th from 19th of 2004 while technology prowess would remain the same as previous year at the 8th slot. And it was later proven by the IMD WCY 2005 as 'scientific infrastructure'and 'technological infrastructure'were moved up to 15th and 2nd, respectively outpacing the forecast at the briefing.
It gives me further pleasure given that IMD WCY 2005 recognized science and technology sectors constitute more than half of the 20 strong indicators. Among the indicators are: R&D expenses per GDP; High-tech products export; Patent and Copyright protection; The number of subscribers of broadband communications per 1,000 inhabitants; Wide-band communications cost; The number of Internet users per 1,000 people; The Internet costs per 20 hours; Investment in communication infrastructure per GDP; The appropriateness of the number of information and communication technicians; Satisfaction level of information-communication technology to the demand of companies.
IMD showed that the rise in Korea's global competitiveness fairly hinged on science and technology sending an important message for our country? future. It said we should strengthen the science competitiveness to secure the 15th slot in the world. In order to realize it, we should make our best efforts nationwide to increase per capita R&D expense and the number of R&D staff per 1,000 populations. In addition to that, we should promote interest in science and technology among youths and improve the research capacity for creative fundamental science fields.
In conclusion, science and technology are expected to make greater contributions to the country's future growth, thus facilitating to make people's lives more comfortable and rewarding by helping the country reach its US $30, 000 per capita income goal earlier than expected. nw

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