Leader Profile: Ji-Hong Kim, Associate Dean, KDI

    The Korean Development Institute (KDI) was established in 1997 with the aim of developing leadership in a rapidly changing and globalizing economy. Its work focuses on policy and international issues, both through the provision of training to mid-career professionals and hosting the nation’s leading economic think tank, to share Korea’s unique development experience with the global community. Ji-Hong Kim has worked within the Public Policy and Management Department since 2003.


    The work of the KDI has an international focus, not just in the Asian region, but also in Africa. Ji-Hong asserted that Africa needs to adapt an outward-oriented strategy and export promotion policy to overcome its small domestic market size and to earn foreign exchange. “Globalization provides immense opportunities and significant risks, and African economies should be ready to participate in the global economy,” Ji-Hong asserted.


    Ji-Hong believes that Korea’s success relies on two key factors; that the country continues to make efforts to build up national economic policy consensus, and the provision of proper government support and guidance, coupled with innovative local entrepreneurship and a diligent labor force. “The key to the economic miracle of Korea, if there had been one, seems to lie in these two factors which enabled the Korean people to successfully adapt to the challenges while minimizing the risks,” he stressed. “Koreans trained in economics elsewhere, and brought back with them not only knowledge, but also a cultural knowledge, and openness that benefited the economy,” said Kim.


    Ji-Hong has held his current position since 2003. Prior to this, he was a visiting scholar at Columbia Business School and a Professor in the Department of International Business of HanYang University in Korea. In 1991, he was responsible for leading the Service Trace Negotiation Team in Korea’s mission to the World Trade Organization in Geneva. He has also been an economic advisor to the governments of Mongolia and Vietnam. Ji-Hong received an MBA from Harvard School of Business, and his PhD in Business Administration, focusing on International Finance and Economics, from the University of California, Berkeley where he was a GSBA fellow. Ji-Hong is also a board member of HanJin Corporation.


    Ji-Hong is a firm believer that globalization can benefit all countries, including those in Africa, if the right policy mix is conscientiously put in place. “By and large, the governments should seek for the industrial policy of ‘getting the basics right’ within a market-conforming framework. And both incentives and disincentives were designed to promote efficiency in the allocation of limited resources with the help of market forces as much as possible,” Ji-Hong asserted.

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