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A Comparative Study on ICT Policy Management in Korea and Myanmar

Aung Kyaw Oo

Ph.D. Candidate, International IT Policy Program, Seoul National University


Policy plays a vital role in going seamlessly from one stage of development to another one
whatever the domain is. ICT policy is not an exception at all. Even though there is a policymaking body
and a clear-cut set of policy is set, it is still necessary to follow-up and monitor the formulation and
implementation of these policies in the real world.

Myanmar ICT policy has been drawn as early as in 2000 while Korea initiated the first Master
Plan for Informatization Promotion in June, 1996. Annual ICT assistance awarded to Myanmar by
Korean government through KOICA (Korea International Cooperation Agency) and KADO (Korea
Agency for Digital Opportunity and Promotion) started from 2003. Currently, ICT experts from Korea,
not only the government entities but private companies, are helping to improve e-government projects and
set-up the data centers in Myanmar.

It is found out that the national-level ICT development strategy of Myanmar followed almost the
same route that the Republic of Korea took before. The highest authority in ICT policymaking in
Myanmar is the e-National Task Force together with the Computer Science Development Council headed
by the Secretary (1) of the government. Any other issues regarding the ICT policy, legal and regulatory
ones are tackled by these two authorities. But, in Korea, two independent regulatory bodies in ICT are
KCC (Korea Communications Commission) and KBC (Korea Broadcasting Commission) although the
ICT policy is set by the Ministry of Knowledge Economy (formerly called MIC). The government role in
ICT legislation process and the cooperative and collaborative role of private companies together with the
government in improving the ICT infrastructure in a country are shown to be the basic requisites for a
country to catch up with the ICT developments in other countries. Korea’s first ranking among the
countries in Digital Opportunity Index (DOI) measured by ITU (International Telecommunication Union)
for three successive years (2005-07) showed the sound policy formulation, resolute implementation and
strong management practices of the Korea government.

Regarding the legal and regulatory issues in ICT, Korea becomes a role model for any other
developing countries as more than (255) ICT-related laws, rules and regulations were enacted from 1999
until 2007. Comparatively in Myanmar, only three laws and regulations -- Computer Science
Development Law (1986), Wide Area Network Order (2002) and Electronic Transactions Law (2004),
were promulgated until 2007. Cyber law is approved after being drafted, however, yet to be enacted. IP
Rights law is still under draft.

In this paper, related facts and data are to be compared between the two countries—Korea and
Myanmar—on how the ICT policy is started formulation and implementation and how it is managed. It is
expected that some implications could be drawn from this comparative study after pinpointing the
contributing factors in ICT policy management. In addition, the paper will highlight how important it is
for Myanmar to modify and renew the target ICT policy in line with the changing paradigm, technology
platforms and national interests and competitiveness especially based on Korea’s experience.

Key-words: policy analysis, management, government, ICT