From 3-8 December, Monaco Economic Board (MEB) was in South Korea on a Trade Mission in partnership with the long-established French-Korean Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FKCCI). Frédéric Genta, Country Chief Digital Officer for the Principality of Monaco, was on the trip to learn more about all aspects of the Korean “Smart City” concept and present Monaco’s progress in this field.
Devastated by the 1950s war, South Korea has engineered a recovery similar to that of Japan after the Second World War to become the world’s 12th economic power. The dynamism and entrepreneurial spirit driving the Koreans, combined with a committed workforce (until 2018, the maximum working week was limited to 68 hours before a reform was introduced!) saw emergence of industry giants like Samsung and Hyundai.
Today Korea is focused on digitalisation through a “Fourth Industrial Revolution” government directive. This has led to the development of “Smart Cities” throughout this densely populated country (51 million people on a territory a fifth the size of France) resulting in major changes to the way they manage transport, energy, water distribution and education, a vital asset for this forward-looking country. It was on these points shared by both countries that Frédéric Genta, Country Chief Digital Officer, organised his visit alongside the MEB.
With MEB Executive Director General Guillaume Rose, he was able to meet the Director of the Presidential Committee in charge of implementing this fourth industrial revolution; President of the Health Commission and Korean National Assembly; President of Invest Korea; Deputy Minister of Land Development, Infrastructure and Transport; Director of the Smart City project and Mayor of the futuristic town of Sejong; President of the National ITC Promotion Agency; Director General of Global Policy at the Ministry for SMEs and Startups; and the Smart Green Director at the institute of urban research (AURI). Another highlight was meeting Ban Ki Moon, former UN Secretary General, now President of his eponymous foundation which promotes ideas for peace, a key figure already familiar with the Principality and especially its Sovereign, HSH Prince Albert II.
At the same time, Frédéric Genta participated in events organised by the MEB including a Business Forum. A tripartite agreement was signed between the MEB, FKCCI and Korean Industry Federation and a presentation on Monaco’s economy was attended by some 60 Korean entrepreneurs and institutions. The next day, an inter-ministerial delegation joined managers and the MEB delegation to attend Open to Innovation, which included an exhibition of the Smart City objectives and progress being made in the Principality.
Between these two events, the 15 heads of companies from Monaco had a chance to introduce their products and added value; attend some of the most innovative startup pitches for which the country is renowned; and meet targeted contacts that will probably lead to trade between two countries, which may not be very close geographically but share the same driving force and spirit of innovation.
The Trade Mission ended in style with the 30th FKCCI Gala, an annual event organised by the FKCCI which is Korea’s largest Chamber of Commerce. This year the focus was on “Extended Monaco”, attended by more than 800 top level figures from the business and institution communities who enjoyed an elegant evening combining business with promoting all aspects of Monaco against a backdrop blending Casino Square and Palace Square.
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Frédéric Genta and Guillaume Rose’s meeting with Ban Ki Moon, former UN Secretary General. (©FKCCI)
The Monegasque delegation arriving at the 30th Gala organised by the French-Korean Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the theme of which was “Extended Monaco”, attended by 800 people. (©FKCCI)