In Summary
  • The South Korean government provided subsidised mortgages to low-income groups.
  • South Korea and Taiwan adopted high-yield seeds and crops and use of fertiliser and modern agricultural equipment and machinery.

The “Asian Tigers” are the highly developed economies of Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan.

The meteoric rise of these economies has led to overarching comparisons, contrasts and calls for African countries to learn from their experience to achieve meaningful and sustainable growth and development.

The choice of the “Big Four” areas of manufacturing, healthcare, housing and food security by President Uhuru Kenyatta as his legacy projects is viewed by many as a strategy to propel the nation to the double-digit growth envisaged in the Kenya Vision 2030.

The plan’s success will have a great impact on the livelihoods of the majority poor as it will help to solve the endemic problems of poverty, ignorance and disease.

It is expected to bring about 500,000 low-cost houses, affordable universal healthcare, food security and an expanded manufacturing sector.

The rise of the Asian Tigers hinged greatly on programmes in manufacturing, health, agriculture, infrastructure, energy and housing sectors.

As we embark on implementing the “Big Four” plan, one would ask: What lessons can we learn from the Asian Tigers?

First, on manufacturing, the Asian Tigers formulated flexible laws on labour, taxation and environment whose major effect was to expand industrial operations and increase output.

This led to an increase in goods for local and foreign markets.

Those with smaller domestic markets like Taiwan sought free market access for their manufactured goods abroad.

They adopted an outward-oriented strategy and export promotion policies beyond their smaller domestic markets.

With increased industrial output being exported, they could boost their foreign exchange and reduce balance of payments deficits.

That is why Samsung, a South Korean firm, is one of the largest consumer electronics producers.

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