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This article was submitted by the Incheon IT Promotion Agency. Providing the momentum to achieve new IT development possibilities in Songdo As the City of Incheon Metropolitan Government has succeeded in attracting the UN's ESCAP ICT development center, APCICT (Asian and Pacific Training Center for Information and Communication Technology for Development) in concert with MOFAT (the Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade) as well as MIC (the Ministry of Information & Communication), Incheon is expected to contribute greatly to regional economic development along with its establishment as a Northeast Asian IT hub city. The UN ESCAP plenary session held on May 18, 2005 in Bangkok, Thailand finally decided to locate the ESCAP APCICT development center, the first UN affiliated organization in Korea, in Songdo International Free City, Incheon, Korea. Given the concentration of Korea's cutting-edge IT technology and infrastructure in Songdo plus its easy accessibility to the Incheon International Airport, the ESCAP APCICT center is expected to contribute to solving the problem of informational disparity among developing countries within the region, considering that ICT developmental levels as well as informatization levels in the Asia Pacific region nations fall behind those of other regions, said an official of the City of Incheon who has been closely involved with the city's bid to attract the center over last two years in collaboration with MOFAT and MIC. The official underlines that Incheon will emerge as a center of world-class cutting-edge IT industry as education, research as well as information exchange among IT-associated specialists from around the globe are gathering in Songdo. Along with this, the ESCAP APCICT center will help Incheon to develop as an advanced-country, model information industry city, a spokesman at the City of Incheon explained. This spokesman further said that the City plans to capitalize upon the decision to locate ESCAP APCICT center in Incheon to promote its overseas BUYINCHEON campaign, and he expects that this will have a positive effect on investors at home and abroad as well. Officials of the City of Incheon, not least, expect that the establishment of the center would give momentum to national development possibilities for Korea nationally as Songdo develops as a 21st century cutting-edge intelligent new city to steal a march on competing cities in East Asia such as Pudong in China and Singapore. Pivot of ICT education & training institutions within region An official at the Science & Technology Division of the City said that the UN ESCAP ICT development center would be located in Techno Park within IFEZ (Incheon Free Economic Zone). Through a special ICT education courses that are completely free of charge for officials of the 62 ESCAP members as well as associated member countries in the Asia Pacific region, the development center plans to provide the human resources needed to facilitate informatization within the region as well as resolve the growing 'digital divide'. Its educational course breaks down into three sub-courses such as the 'Highranking policy decision-maker course' to aid the understanding of informatization among top officials; the 'Managerial course' for ICT field core managers; and the 'Instructor nurturing course'. In addition, the development center plans to run courses in tandem with the educational training needed for the ICT human resource development of each member country, educational content development projects, specialized joint research projects and cooperative initiatives with other international organizations. To this end, MIC and the City of Incheon are planning to develop the city as the pivot for ICT education training institutions within the region by investing resources amounting to $10 million over the next 5 years into the center. In cash terms, MIC will put in $2.5 million, and the City of Incheon, $5 million. It is said that some ESCAP member countries have expressed opposition or reservations about the establishment of a new international organization owing to problems of function overlap and lack of finances. It is believed, however, Korea succeeded in attracting the development center to Songdo by concentrating on forming a consensus about its necessity among member countries. In particular, Korea's diplomatic negotiating strategy through which the government won each member country's support by underlining the country's potential contribution to developing countries on the basis of Korean worldlevel IT capability, plus inter-ministry cooperation as well the bidding efforts of MIC and the City of Incheon, seemed to have borne fruit. Enormous economic ripple effect The City of Incheon plans to give all necessary administrative/financial support so that the APCICT may be established successfully as the first international organization to be located in Korea. A city official responsible for leading the project to completion by 2006 said Incheon will become an IT Mecca since IT experts from 62 countries will be learning the best practices of Korean cutting-edge IT technology in the city under the aegis of UN ESCAP. As there will be significant connections with Korean IT businesses in the operation of the center, it is expected there will be an enormous economic ripple effect, the official added. With the attraction of the APCICT, the Songdo area will become a center of IT industry involving cutting-edge IT infrastructure and digital entertainment clusters, he concluded. The Incheon IT Industry Promotion Agency contributed to attracting the UN's ESCAP ICT development center, APCICT (Asian and Pacific Training Center for Information and Communication Technology for Development) to Songdo.