Governance systems play a very significant role towards uplifting the economy of a country through the level of economic growth and social development programs initiated towards assisting the citizens. The political organization of any country is therefore always the first step towards development. The situation true of Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and South Korea. Saudi Arabia is a hereditary monarchy, Kuwait is a constitutional emirate while South Korea is a Democratic Country. While the three country are all third world countries, the rate of growth in these countries is determined by the governance structures within the country. The paper compares the governance, economic development and social development of the three countries
Comparison of governance in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and South Korea
Governance in Saudi Arabia
For any country to boast of a good governance, there are several minimum concepts that must be fulfilled. These components not only entail the overall political structure of the country but how the people are involved in all matters touching on their lives and the accountability of their leaders towards the same. Some of the accepted parameters include, transparency, rule of law, responsiveness, efficiency, participation, accountability and being consensus oriented. Saudi Arabia as a country was established in the year 1932 as a monarch which is hereditary up to today . King Abdulaziz Abd became the first king, after which his son took over the leadership of the country up to the year 2005. Saudi Arabia does not have a constitution but operates on what is referred to as the basic law of governance which acts as it Constitution since the year 1992 . The king who is the commander in chief of all the armed forces appoints all the members of the cabinet, all the members of the legislature and all the members of the judiciary. Currently, the kings cabinet in Saudi Arabia is composed of 22 ministers. Previously the country did not indulge in any voting but as from the year 2012, there is a recommendation for the country to embrace elections. The legislative arm whose main role is to advice the king on all the legal matters is set up in the form of a consultative council. Concerns have also been raised over the members of the council to be elected from across the country an idea that is yet to see the light of the day. It was not until the year 2013 that the government of Saudi Arabia started recognizing women as an important resource in the council. In that year thirty women were appointed to the council as part of the implementation of the law requiring at least 20% of the legislative council to be composed of women . The first woman minister was also appointed in the year 2009 after a very long period of women segregation in governance matters .
The judiciary in Saudi Arabia is based on the sharia laws and all the courts structures are in line with the sharia law. It is composed of the courts of cessation, the courts of first instance and the judicial council . A new structure has however been proposed. It should also be noted that it was not until the year 2005 that the first elections were held in the country with only those above the age of 21 being allowed to do so. Since then therefore the; government has been embracing the rule of law, accountability, participation of the people in governance through voting and the practice of equity by incorporating the people of both the male and female gender in governance.
Governance in Kuwait
Unlike Saudi Arabia which is a hereditary monarchy led by a king, Kuwait is a partially democratic authoritarian state. The state embraces both monarchy and democracy. In this regard therefore, the executive is hereditary while the parliament is elected by the people. In order to promote accountability, the state passed a constitution immediately after independence in 1961 which puts an obligation on all government agencies to respect the separation of powers . In this connection, the judiciary, executive and legislature play very different roles. The executive is run by the president who must come from the Al Sabah family, the deputy president who is the crown prince, the prime minister appointed by the president and other ministers . The president is immune of any criminal or civil suits and plays a crucial role in promulgating laws.
The legislature in Kuwait however is not fully autonomous as the prime minister and fifteen other members of the executive sit in the legislative assembly, apart from the 50 elected members of the house . Another characteristic is that unlike in Saudi Arabia where there are no political parties and the members of the legislative council are appointed by the king, in Kuwait, all the elected members must run as independent candidates without parties. Several groups however present themselves as parties to the people. Lastly, the judicial arm of government in Kuwait is based on the foundation of sharia law. Unlike the parliament, the judiciary in Kuwait is fully independent. Overall the people of Kuwait respect and love their government because there has been stability and steady economic growth in the country . The government for example provides free education and healthcare which make the governance in Kuwait more respected than in Saudi Arabia.
Governance in South Korea
Apart from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, the governance structure in South Korea is based on a pure democratic system. The country however has been marred with a lot of authoritarian regimes which has affected her economy significantly. One of the very peculiar characteristics is also the fact that all people are allowed to participate in the governance of the country either as voters or as contestants to the various political positions. South Korea is governed by both the president and the prime minister with the former being the head of state and the latter being the head of government. The government has an executive arm, a legislative arm and a judiciary. The executive which is composed by the council of ministers is appointed by the president in consultation with the prime minister. The cabinet is headed by the president and constituted of the prime minister and the ministers. Both the prime minister and the other cabinet ministers are appointed by the president.
The legislature is composed of 299 members who are elected by the people and play a key role of formulating and passing laws . While the president serves for only 1 term of 5 years the term of the members of parliament which is unicameral in nature is a term of 4 years. Lastly, the judiciary is fully independent of the executive and legislature and operates on three tier courts, constituted of the Supreme Court, constitutional courts and appellate courts.. These parties have several ideologies and give the people of South Korea a wider opportunity to participate in the governance of their country. Some of these parties include the Democratic Party, the democratic labor party and the Grand National party . All in all, governance structure in South Korea promotes the rule of law, respect for fundamental rights, respect the equality of the people and is efficient and accountable to the people and therefore necessary for development.
Comparison of economic development in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and South Korea
Economic development in Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia has distinguished itself as one of the economic powers in the Middle East. Her economy is based on oil production with 90 percent of her exports being petroleum based products. The economy has steadily grown over years with a margin of about 5.13 percent Gross Domestic Product in the year 2012 . The life expectancy in Saudi Arabia is at 72 years meaning the country has invested a lot to the health sector. The literacy level in Saudi Arabia is 83 percent while the infant mortality rate is 21 percent. As at the year 2015, the growth in the GDP of Saudi Arabia stood at 3.5 percent, with a percapita of $52,300 . The country has an employment rate of 89 percent an unemployment rate of 11 percent. With the oil economy supporting the employment levels in Saudi Arabia and accounting for 80 percent of the budget revenue in Saudi Arabia, the country has shifted its attention towards investing in the private sector in its move to eradicate unemployment totally . Most of the people who are involved in the private sector in Saudi Arabia are foreigners
Apart from the above mentioned statistics, the budgetary allocations for Saudi arabia also assist us in knowing the economic position of Saudi arabia. For example for the financial year 2016, the government allocated 213 billion on the military 191 billon on education . A lot of money was further channeled towards creating other sources of revenue for the government and jobs to the people through the private sector. It is estimated that only about 12 to 25 percent of the people of Saudi Arabia live below poverty lines . The country further is rated 22nd on the worlds most economically competitive countries.
Economic development in Kuwait
With a population of 4 million people, the economy of Kuwait stands at $ 284 billion gross domestic product . It has a per capita of $ 71, 000 with an annual growth rate of about 1.13 percent . The country earns $ 484 million as a revenue inflow from its foreign direct investments. Currently Kuwait stands at position 74 amongst the worlds most economically developed countries . The government of Kuwait gets a lot of revenue from oil and the taxation on companies. The country further boosts of its growth in the financial industry which is rated the best in the region. The two main economic boosters to Kuwait is the financial services industry and oil. The country however has invested in agriculture, tourism and the private sector investment. Currently, the unemployment rate in Kuwait stands at 3 percent. Kuwait invests a lot of money in the education, health and the military sectors. While Kuwait and Saudi Arabia both heavily rely on oil for their budgets, Kuwait is doing little to diversify its economy as compared to Saudi Arabia. Such a move places her at a risky position should the oil market internationally collapse.
Economic development in South Korea
South Korea lies number 11 on the worlds most economically developed countries. South Korea relies on industries formerly owned by families. The country is one of those countries that rose from a poor country to a currently developed country. The main income earning activities for the economy are services, industrial activities and agriculture . The country totally had industries or agricultural services but decided to invest in exports. Due the level of education impacted, the country emerged as one of the leading export countries and the skills earned were incorporated into technological products and services. Compared to Saudi Arabia, only 15 % of the people in Korea live below poverty line . The unemployment rate in South Korea stands at 3.1 percent while the services department is responsible for the largest part of employing the people . Most industries fall in technological, automobile and automobile industries. The country is set to spend 400.7 trillion with labor, welfare and health taking the largest shares. Currently the literacy levels in South Korea stands at 99 percent for males and 96 percent for females respectively. The education levels indicates why South Korea is doing great in technical fields
Social development in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and South Korea
Social development in Saudi Arabia
The core purpose of the government of Saudi Arabia indulging in the agricultural and industrial production is to foster social development. Through its earnings, the government provides its citizens with educational opportunities, good health and social security for every worker. These factors are necessary for human development. The government through promotion of a free education notes that its through the provision of education that the production of resources may be made better and the resources managed effectively.. Through education, the government of Saudi Arabia guarantees its people of equal opportunities in the employment sector. In terms of the provision of quality healthcare, the country has about 386 hospitals properly stationed with qualified specialists . The country has 40,000 doctors who work all round to ensure that the primary healthcare is provided. Saudi Arabia also places a lot of attention on the provision of social services through the social services agencies . These agencies are responsible for the poverty reduction and taking care of the disabled and vulnerable groups in an aid to end poverty. The country further empowers its women by allowing them to own property without any contribution to their husband. Sports services in Saudi Arabia is also a concern as the government has built 12 sports cities to assist the youths develop their talents and participate internationally.
Social development in Kuwait
Just like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait has also put in place social welfare programs designed on improving the lives and the welfare of its people. Some of these programs is the provision of free education and healthcare for all the people in Kuwait without any discrimination. Social security programs are also designed to assist the old and the people with disabilities. To finance these programs, every worker is entitled to contribute 5 percent of his salary . For the previous years however, one of the key concerns has been about women empowerment. For example, Kuwait does not allow its women to vote or run any political parties. The womens testimonies in court is taken with less seriousness as compared to that of men. Kuwait women must also seek the consent of their husbands before application for passports. Currently however, women are allowed to contest and vote.
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Social development in South Korea
Apart from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait who have managed to provide their social welfare from the money earned from industrial activities, South Korea has done so through business and personal empowerment. The country values education and is determined to promote the same through free education programs. The health of the people is also a priority as several hospitals and recreational facilities have been put up to keep the population in good health. Currently, the infant mortality rate is 17 percent with the life expectancy lying at 72 years . Only 7 percent of the population is also illiterate and 3 percent unemployed . These parameters reflect the commitment put in play by the government to wipe out poverty . South Korea further has several social security programs that oversee the needs of the old, the vulnerable and people with disability. In a nutshell therefore, in order to keep its economy strong, the government of South Korea has embarked on improving the lives of the people.
In conclusion, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait which are all based in the Middle East have had their own share of governance problems. While the former has had a pure monarchy led by the king and all the appointments dictated by the king, the latter has had a partially democratic and partially monarchial system. These systems have played a very negative role towards women empowerment and creating equal opportunities to the people. These systems of government have however won the trust of the people. South Korea is a purely democratic system and the effect is reflected in its economy. Economically, South Korea does better than both Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, an economy that relies on exports more. Kuwait also does better than Saudi Arabia and this explains how good governance contributes to development. In terms of social development, the three countries embrace free education and health and promote social security programs for the purpose of empowering the old and the vulnerable in society.