MOPAS’s Strategy to Narrow Global Digital Divide
MOPAS’s Strategy to Narrow Global Digital Divide
  • Kim Sung-mi (
  • 승인 2012.05.21 18:35
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SEOUL, KOREA — The 25th Information and Culture month falls in June. The Ministry of Public Administration and Security (MOPAS) of Korea and the National Information Society Agency (NIA) will jointly host a ceremony on June 4 to celebrate the 25th Information and Culture month. Along with the ceremony, a variety of events will be held such as 2012 Information Festival, exhibitions of information & communications assistive devices, musicals promoting a sound information culture. Though such events are designed to promote the Internet and digital information ethics, art education and physical training will also be offered to close the information gap between individuals and regions and to help children have a taste of various recreational cultures other than the Internet. A slew of events are scheduled to be held throughout June to mark the 25th Information and Culture month.

Korea and El Salvador has signed a cooperation of informatization MOU

Art education and physical training events are crafted out of growing concerns that the adverse effects of the Internet, such as Internet addiction are worrisome in a nation where the rate of high-speed Internet penetration (83%) is the highest in the world. As the changes brought to the social environment of informatization by the spread of smartphones have created strong demands for retooling and upgrading existing measures aimed at narrowing the digital divide, MOPAS has made strenuous efforts. As a result, the level of informatization for the underprivileged has continued to grow: it climbed from 45% in 2004 to 72.4 % in 2011. 

However, as the IT environment has gone through major changes on the heels of the smartphone craze and growing wireless Internet use, a turnabout in existing measures designed to reduce the digital divide is needed at the moment. Accordingly, the Korean government has implemented “Guideline on Mobile Application Accessibility” that was drawn up in 2011. Surveys on information accessibility now cover mobile application accessibility to better inform policymakers of the levels of Korea’s informatization. This year, leveraging 237 infomatization education centers, located nationwide, and mobile e-learning website ””, the Korean government is providing the underprivileged with education on mobile informatization and is also working hard to nurture profession IT lecturers. On top of that, the Korean government plans to develop and supply information & communications assistive devices to prevent less-informatized people being excluded from the “smart” era. And the government looks to play special attention to the underprivileged’s access to mobile services from the very beginning of developing mobile services. In addition, the Korean government will set up a public-private governance system to hammer out measures to integrate information society.


The World Eyes Korea’s e-Government System

While taking a breather making efforts to close information the gap internally, IT powerhouse Korea is charging ahead to share its IT knowhow with other nations and keep pace with the rest of the world in terms of IT development. Korea’s public administration system such as e-government has been in the spotlight in the world because Korea ranked first in the e-Government Survey conducted by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), for two consecutive years. The world has seemed to be amazed by the rapid development of Korea which had launched varied strategic, proactive movements (such as the New Community Movement, also known as Saemaul Movement, a political initiative to modernize the rural South Korean economy) in order to rise from the ruins of the Korean War. In the run-up to the 25th month of Information and Culture in June, Korea IT Times met with Dr. Seo Pil-eon, Vice Minister of Public Administration and Security of Korea who just returned from his visits to Central and South American nations including Ecuador, Costa Rica and El Salvador. 

Dr. Seo Pil-eon, Vice Minister of MOPAS

Vice Minister Seo said, “As Korea’s e-government system gets global recognition, nations in Central and South America are showing a high interest in our e-government system. Besides, I was particularly surprised by their in-depth knowledge of Korea’s e-government system.” He continued, “Ecuador and Costa Rica have already adopted Korea’s e-government system with their own government budgets, not through ODA (Official Development Assistance) projects and these nations are making good use of the e-government system. Since Korea’s e-government system has received rave reviews from its user nations, their neighboring nations were pondering over the adoption of Korea’s e-government system.” Costa Rica imported electronic procurement systems worth USD 8.3 million from Samsung SDS in 2009 and Ecuador imported electronic customs clearance systems valued at USD 25.2 million from the Korea Customs UNI-PASS Information Association (CUPIA) in 2010.

Due to geographical limitations, Korea’s exchanges with nations in Central and South America were far from being brisk in the past. Yet, as Korean culture and Korea’s advanced systems were exported to Central and South America, a growing number of Central and South American nations have turned their attention to Korea. Vice Minister Seo said he witnessed limitless business opportunities during his visits to Central and South America. Though Central and South America is rich in natural resources, much remains to be done when it comes to social systems and security. Thus, Vice Minister Seo thought that there was much room for close cooperation between Korea and Central and South America.


Sharing of Korea’s Development Model with the Developing World

Vice Minister Seo predicted that the world’s No.1 position held by Korea’ e-government system will appreciably appeal to the global market. He also forecasts that since Korea’s excellent systems for patents, customs clearance and Government Information Data Centers (GIDC) follow international standards, Korea’s cooperation with other nations will go smooth. In particular, electronic customs clearance system, “UNI-PASS” and government e-procurement system “Korea Online e-Procurement System (” have found favor with other nations. UNI-PASS, which enables online handing of all the customs clearance tasks such as reports of goods, inspections and taxation, has shortened the duration of export & import processes that usually takes one to two days to 1 minute, thereby slashing logistics costs by as much as KRW 3.8 trillion annually. UNI-PASS was exported to eight nations including Nepal, Tanzania and Ecuador.

Korea Online e-Procurement System, whereby all of the government procurement tasks including bidding, contracts and inspections go online, was designed to expedite procurement deals with almost all local governments and nations in the world. The adoption of Korea Online e-Procurement System translates into a total of KRW 8 trillion cut in procurement costs annually. Since Korea Online e-Procurement System guarantees transparent online administrative processes, government’s transparency has also been elevated. Tunisia and Costa Rica imported Korea Online e-Procurement System and many other nations are currently contemplating the adoption of the system. 

Vice Minister Seo said that the Incheon International Airport, which has been selected as the world’s best airport for seven straight years, was the epitome of Korea’s advanced e-government services. The Incheon International Airport, at which not a single case of flight or cargo accident has been thus far reported since its opening in 2001, fully embraced e-government systems such as e-customs clearance and e-immigration management to maximize passenger convenience. 

Dr. Seo Pil-eon, Vice Minister of MOPAS

Vice Minister Seo mentioned, “We will conduct thorough surveys on what developing nations really need to offer customs-tailored administrative systems. In addition, we will share our invaluable experiences on the rapid economic development in the 1970s and 1980s with developing nations where the public sector mainly spearheads the development of the economies and society.” He added, “Korea’s Saemaul Movement is a desirable administrative model that developing nations truly need to take their cues from, so many nations are calling for the transfer of knowhow on Saemaul Movement. Now it’s time for Korea to look back.”

It means the role of Korea has grown in importance in various areas including diplomacy and economic matters on the international stage. “Looking forward ceaselessly, Korea has so far played catch-up with well developed nations, but looking back on the path we followed, we find out that many nations want to pattern their development processes after Korea’s development model,” explained Vice Minister Seo. The US is far, far ahead of developing nations, so the US development model is too unrealistic to benchmark. Yet, the development model of Korea that was once burnt to the ground by the Korean War strikes a chord with developing nations. Vice Minister Seo stressed, “Korea is a nation who can play the bridging role between the developed world and the developing world.”


Korea’s e-Government System is Intensively Fostered as a Major Export Item

There is no doubt global attention to Korea’s public administrative system has been reignited by Korea’s No.1 ranking in the UN e-Government Survey. On February 29, 2012, the 2012 e-Government Survey, issued by the UN, announced that Korea clinched the No. 1 position once again. The UN e-Government Survey covers 193 UN member nations and compares nations to one another in terms of e-government development to promote cooperation among nations and ramp up competitiveness. Korea finished first in two areas: the e-government development index and the online participation index. The Korean government expects the world’s No. 1 title in e-government will raise Korea’s international standing, thereby spurring up exports.

Seo Pil-eon, Vice Minister of MOPAS is having a meeting with the Vice President of Costa Rica.

The global e-government market reaches USD 160 billion in value, similar to that of the global mobile market. US companies’ share in the global e-government market is 50% to 60 %, the highest followed by their Japanese rivals. Since the US makes up nearly 40% of the global e-government market, it is natural that US companies excel in the e-government system business.

Vice Minister Seo Pil-eon said, “Though Korea’s e-government system is sought after in the world, there are many challenges we need to tackle. The global informatization market has been dominated by IT multinational companies such as Oracle, IBM and HP.”  “First of all, we have to deal with foreign governments to export Korea’s e-government system, which is not easy. Besides, it takes 3 to 5 years to complete export processes (from the winning of contracts and development to sending finished products) and the cost of e-government system development is very high since each nation has different institutions and systems in place. For companies, this business can be risky because they have to make hefty investments upfront, but the retrieval of investments is not as easy,” added Vice Minister Seo.

Last year, the Korean government posted USD 250 million in e-government exports, taking up a mere 1% share in the global e-government market. However, the 1% market share cannot be dismissed as a disappointment to the Korean government that has yet to launch systemic export strategies. The Korean government’s promotional activities for its e-government system simply revolved around front-loading the title of the world’s No.1 ranking held by Korea and senior government officials’ visits to target markets. 

Dr. Seo Pil-eon, Vice Minister of MOPAS

Vice Minister Seo said, “Once Korea’s share in the global e-government market is taken up from the current 0.3% to 5%, the e-government business will be as profitable as Korea’s flagship semiconductor and auto industries. We plan to set off a new Korean wave triggered by Korea’s e-government system.” As the growth potential of the global e-government market is huge, MOPAS seemed determined to lay the ground work for exporting Korea’s e-government system to more nations. Furthermore, as for overseas promotional activity, MOPAS is set to thrash out accurate export strategies and strategically sign MoUs with target nations and carry out overseas marketing by senior government officials. Above all, e-government systems deemed to have great potential to become international commodities will be intensively developed and promoted as major export brands 

A plethora of e-government services have been either awarded by international institutions or certified by international accreditors- for instance UNI-PASS; Korea Online e-Procurement System; Information Network Village (; civil complaints portal “Minwon 24 (”, where complaints can be filed online 24/7 via the smartphone application. For example, a complaint about neighbors’ illegal garbage dumping can be filed online and relevant institutions handle the case); e-People (, the electronic immigration system; government work management system “On-nara BPS (Business Process System)”; on-line tax payment system “Hometax (”; and electronic patents. Therefore, the future of Korea’s e-government exports seems rosy.


e-Government Global Forum Is Slated for October

E-Government Global Forum, scheduled to be held on October 18 through 19 in Seoul, will serve as a great opportunity to share with foreigners Korea’s expertise and knowhow on enhancing administrative efficiency, transparency and improving civil services through e-government systems.

E-Government Global Forum, aimed at narrowing the digital divide among nations and encouraging international cooperation for setting up e-government standards, will be participated in by ministers and vice ministers of each nation, high-level officials at international institutions, people from academia and industry and journalists. 

In addition, an array of promotional events such as e-government study tours and consultations with companies are also in the wings to make Korea’s e-government system well known. High hopes are pinned on E-Government Global Forum as it is expected to give impetus to Korean IT companies’ entry into overseas markets and revamp Korea’s national image.


The following is series on the Korean e-Government system from June 2011

June 2011— Can You Dig It An Interview with Maeng Hyung-kyu, Minister of MOPAS (Published)

July 2011 — Net based Application on System Takes Patents Global (Published)

August 2011 

— Korea is the Hub Nation for e-Government. An Interview with Kang Jung-hyup, Assistant Minister of Informatization Strategy Office in Minister of Public Administration And Security (Published) 

— KCS to Export UNI-PASS to Latin America and Africa. An Interview with Chung Il-sok, Director General of Information and International Affairs Bureau (Published) 

November, 2011 — Korea Immigration to Enhance Security and Efficiency. An Interview with Lee Chang-se, Commissioner of Korea Immigration Service at the Ministry of Justice (Published) 

January, 2011 — NCIA, the Intelligent Heart of Korean e-Government. An Interview with Dr. Kim Kyung-sub, President of NCIA. (Published)

February, 2012 — Seoul Proves Value of Advanced e-Government. An Interview with Dr. Hwang Jong-sung, Assistant Mayor for Information Technology of Seoul Metropolitan Government. (Published)

March, 2012 — Korea’s e-Government Development amazes the World in Winning UN e-Government Survey 2012. An Interview with Dr. Chang Kwang-su, the Assistant Minister MOPAS. (Published) 

April, 10th, 2012 —Smart City, Gangnam-gu’s e-government Strategy . An Interview with Shin Yeon-hee, Mayer of Gangnam-gu Office. (Published) 

April, 30th 2012 — An Inaugural Meeting of the Global e-Governance Forum – Brings Participation and Sharing(Published) 

May, 20th 2012  — MOPAS’s Strategy to Narrow Global Information Gap. An Interview with Dr. Seo Pil-eon, Vice Minister of MOPAS

June, 2012 — Home tax System

July, 2012 — e-Procurement System that manages the whole process of bids & contracts electronically

August, 2012 — A collection of articles on e-government by IT Times.

행안부의 글로벌 정보격차 해소 전략

전략적 ‘전자정부’ 수출 지원으로 차세대 먹거리 마련한다.


6월은 제 25회 정보문화(Information and Culture)의 달이다. 행정안전부와 한국정보화진흥원은 오는 6월 4일 정보문화의 달 기념식을 갖고 국민들의 IT능력을 제고하고 건전한 정보활용 문화를 확산시키기 위해 다채로운 행사들을 개최한다.

이 같은 행사는 한국이 초고속 인터넷 도입률 세계 1위(83%)를 차지하는 등 인터넷과 스마트미디어를 많이 사용하는 만큼 그 역기능인 인터넷 중독이 우려되고 있는 상황과 맥을 같이 한다. 스마트폰 보급 확산 등 IT환경 변화에 따라 기존의 정보격차해소 정책에도 전환이 필요해 졌다. 이에 따라 정부는 2011년부터 ‘모바일 애플리케이션 접근성 지침’을 마련하고 시행에 들어갔다. 취약 계층을 대상으로 모바일 정보화 교육을 실시하고 전문강사 양성에도 힘 쏟고 있다. 또한 정보취약계층이 스마트시대에 소외되지 않도록 정보통신보조기기를 개발해 보급을 확대하고 모바일 서비스 개발 단계부터 취약계층의 접근성을 고려하도록 할 계획이다. 정보사회통합을 위한 정책마련을 위해 민관거버넌스 체계도 구축한다.


세계가 대한민국 전자정부를 주목한다 

내부적으로 정보화격차를 줄이고 숨고르기를 하고 있는 한국은 외부적으로도 IT강국으로서의 리더십으로 한국이 가지고 있는 IT 노하우를 공유하고 세계인과 보폭을 맞춰나가기 위한 노력도 기울이고 있다. 한국 전자정부가 2회 연속 UN 평가 1위를 차지하는 등 한국의 공공행정 제도와 시스템이 세계 각국의 주목을 받고 있는 상황을 활용해 개도국과 IT선진국과의 정보격차를 줄여나가기 위해서다.

정보문화의 달을 앞두고 지난 달 에콰도르, 코스타리카, 엘살바도르 등 중남미 국가를 방문하고 돌아온 서필언 행정안전부 제1차관은 “우리 전자정부에 대한 위상이 높아짐에 따라 중남미에서도 대한민국 행정에 큰 관심을 갖고 있을 뿐 아니라 잘 알고 있어 놀라웠다”고 전했다. 서 차관은 “에콰도르와 코스타리카가 자체 예산으로 한국의 전자정부 시스템을 도입해 잘 활용하고 있었다”면서 “이들 국가의 평이 좋아 많은 인접국가에서도 도입을 검토하고 있었다”고 전했다. 에콰도르와 코스타리카는 각각 2009년 전자조달시스템(삼성SDS, 830만 달러 어치)과 2010년 전자통관시스템(관세협회, 2520만 달러 어치)을 수입했다.


개도국에 롤모델 제시하고 공유하겠다 

서 차관은 이번 중남미 방문에서 무한한 가능성을 봤다. 이들 지역은 기후나 자원 등의 조건은 우수한 반면 사회 시스템이나 치안 등에 있어서 개선의 여지가 많아 우리와 협력할 기회가 열려 있다고 판단한 것이다. 서 차관은 ‘한국 전자정부=세계 1위’라는 공감대가 세계 시장에서 크게 작용할 것으로 전망했다. 특허, 통관, 데이터센터 등 국제 표준화가 이뤄진 우수한 시스템이 있어 협력관계 맺기에 유리할 것으로 전망했다.

전자통관시스템(UNI-PASS), 조달시스템(나라장터)에 해외의 관심이 주목되고 있다. UNI-PASS는 1, 2일 걸리는 수출입 시간을 1분으로 단축한 시스템이다. 연 KRW 3조8천억의 물류비용을 절감할 수 있다. 이 시스템은 네팔, 탄자니아, 에콰도르 등 8개국에 수출됐다. 조달시스템(나라장터)은 연간 KRW 8조의 비용절감 효과가 있다. 이 시스템으로 모든 국가와 지방의 조달계약이 온라인으로 투명하게 처리되어 행정의 청렴성도 높아졌다. 조달시스템은 튀니지, 에콰도르 등에 수출되었고 다른 중남미 국가에서도 도입을 검토 중이다.

서 차관은 세계 공항서비스 평가에서 7년 연속 세계 1위를 기록하는 인천공항 사례가 전자정부 서비스의 대표적 성공사례로 꼽았다. 2001년 개항이래 단 한 차례의 여객화물사고도 발생한 적 없는 인천공항은 전자통관, 전자출입국관리 등 다양한 전자정부 서비스를 도입해 이용자의 편의를 극대화한 사례다.

서 차관은 “개도국이 필요로 하는 것을 정확히 파악해 국가별 상황에 맞는 맞춤형 행정 한류를 전파하겠다”는 의지도 내비쳤다. 그는 “공공부문이 경제×사회를 주도하는 단계에 있는 개도국과 70~80년대 급속한 성장을 이룩한 우리의 경험을 공유하겠다”고 했다. 그는 “우리의 ‘새마을운동’은 개도국의 입장에서 절실히 필요한 행정모델로 실제로 많은 국가에서 전수를 요청하고 있다”면서  “개도국의 입장에서 따라잡기 어려운 미국보다는 얼마 전만 해도 불모지였던 한국이 보다 현실적인 모델이기 때문”이라고 전했다.


대한민국 전자정부, 수출브랜드로 집중 육성된다 

지난 2월 29일 UN은 ‘2012년 전자정부 평가’에서 대한민국이 1위를 차지했다고 발표했다. 이는 193개 UN회원국을 대상으로 UN 회원국 간 전자정부 발전 수준을 비교 평가하고 국가간 협력방안을 모색하고 경쟁력을 강화하기 위해 이뤄지는 평가다. 우리나라는 ‘전자정부 발전지수’, ‘온라인 참여지수’ 2개 분야에서 모두 1위를 차지했다. 우리정부는 이를 계기로 우리나라 전자정부의 국제적 위상이 높아져 수출확대와 같은 국익 창출이 이어질 것으로 기대하고 있다.

서 차관은 “해외 정보화 시장은 IBM, HP, 오라클 등 다국적 IT기업이 선점하고 있는 경우가 많아 우리기업이 진출하기는 쉽지 않은 시장”이라고 평가했다. 그는 “전자정부는 외국 정부를 상대로 수출해야 하는 어려움이 있고, 사업의 발주부터 수주까지 3~5년이라는 장기간이 소요될 뿐 아니라 국가별로 수준과 제도가 달라 시스템 개발비도 많이 드는 상품”이라고 설명했다.

세계 전자정부 시장은 1600억 달러에 달한다. 세계 모바일 시장과 맞먹는 규모다. 미국 기업이 세계 시장의 50, 60%를 점유하고 있다. 다음이 일본 순이다. 미국 국내 시장이 전 세계 시장의 40%를 차지하고 있다. 지난해 한국 전자정부는 2억5000만 달러를 수출했다. 1%도 안 되는 점유율이다.

서 차관은 “현 0.3%대의 한국 전자정부 세계시장 점유율을 5%로만 끌어올려도 반도체, 자동차 산업만큼의 효자 상품이 될 수 있어 포기할 수 없는 시장”이라고 강조했다. 그는“우리의 우수한 전자정부 시스템을 중심으로 행정한류를 파급시켜 나갈 계획”이라고 밝혔다. 정확한 수출전략을 세우고 전략적으로 공략할 전략국가 중심으로 MOU를 체결하고 고위급 해외 마케팅을 펼치는 등 우리의 우수한 전자정부 시스템을 해외에 적극적으로 홍보할 계획이다. 특히 상품가치가 높은 전자정부 우수 시스템을 발굴, 수출브랜드로 집중 육성할 방침이다.

UNI-PASS나 조달시스템외에도 정보화마을, 민원24, 국민신문고, 전자출입국관리시스템, 정부업무관리시스템, 홈택스, 전자특허 등 수많은 전자정부 시스템 들이 국제기구로부터 수상하거나 국제 표준×인증을 받은 바 있어 앞으로의 성과에 귀추가 주목되고 있다.


10월 ‘전자정부 글로벌 포럼’ 열린다 

오는 10월 18일과 19일 양일간 서울에서 ‘전자정부 글로벌 포럼’이 개최된다. 전자정부를 통해 행정효율성과 투명성이 높아지고, 대국민 서비스가 향상되는 많은 성과를 거둬 국제적인 인정을 받고 있는 우리의 경험과 노하우를 세계인과 공유하기 위해 마련된 행사다.

국가간 정보격차 해소와 전자정부 글로벌 표준 등 전자정부 분야에의 국제협력을 선도를 위해 마련 된 이 행사에는 각국의 장차관 등 정책 결정자, 국제기구 고위급 인사는 물론 과련 학계와 기업, 언론 등이 모두 참여할 것으로 보인다. 부대행사로는 전자정부 스터디투어, 전시회, 기업면담 등이 열려 우리 전자정부를 세계에 알릴 계획이다.

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