Former Seoul mayor tips City of Kigali on devt

The City of Kigali has aquired the services of Sehoon Oh, the former mayor of South Korean capital, Seoul, as an advisor in economic development, a move the City hopes will bring in top tips that would help sustain the ongoing development.
Sehoon during the interview at his office in Kigali yesterday. (John Mbanda)
Sehoon during the interview at his office in Kigali yesterday. (John Mbanda)

The City of Kigali has acquired the services of Sehoon Oh, the former mayor of South Korean capital, Seoul, as an advisor in economic development, a move the City hopes will bring in top tips that would help sustain the ongoing development.

Sehoon served as mayor of Seoul from 2006 to 2011, a time that saw the city register significant development and was ranked as one of the most developed cities in the world.

He will be advising the city management for the next six months.

Sehoon first came to Kigali in August as a Korea International Cooperation Agency (Koica) volunteer and was working alongside colleagues as advisors to the city management.

Speaking to The New Times, yesterday, he said among the strategies he hopes to emphasise include national branding which will have a synergy effect on other efforts for the next step of economic development.

“About a month or so ago, I presented a suggestion paper to the mayor about brand strategy and its role in economic development. I think it is very important because as the government pursues success in ICT and other areas, it is important to create the right perception about a country and a city,” Sehoon said.

From Genocide to reintegration

He said it was time to move the country’s perception from that of genocide to reconciliation and reintegration.

On his impression of the City of Kigali, Sehoon described it as a “blank canvas with unlimited possibilities and enormous potential.”

“According to Vision 2020 and other (economic) plans the government has developed, it is evident that they also have big goals and ambitions for the city and is working towards them. The government has made very aggressive investments in ICT and infrastructure for the city and the whole country in general,” he said.

The South Korean said the branding strategy had been effective in promoting the City of Seoul during his time as mayor.

During his tenure, he pushed for design capital as a brand strategy for his city which saw it named as the World’s Design Capital by International Council of Societies of Industrial Design.

Already Sehoon made presentations to government officials.

Bruno Rangira, spokesperson for the City of Kigali, said the management would be looking to learn and make use of recommendations from Sehoon during his time in the country.

“We look to make the most of his experience and we will work together to find solutions to emerging challenges in the city. He has and will be working closely with the Lord Mayor,” Rangira said. 

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