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Aid received for technical assistance

Technical Assistance
 
1. Definition
 
International technical assistance or technological aid can be mainly divided into two types: free-standing technical cooperation (FSTC) projects and investment-related technical cooperation (IRTC) projects. FSTC projects involve the exchange and training of technicians and engineers, the dispatch or invitation of experts and consultants, and the provision of technical services. IRTC projects, on the other hand, are often provided as grants-in-aid and involve not only the technical services included in FSTC projects such as training and consultation, but also the provision of capital elements, including machinery and equipment. This section limits its focus to FSTC projects only.

The Revised Standard Agreement between the UNILO, the FAO, UNESCO, the ICAO, the WHO, the ITU, and the Government of the Republic of Korea[1] identifies four types of technical assistance, all of which fall under the category of FSTC projects. As a matter of fact, scholarly studies published in the 1960s with respect to technical assistance indicate that the vast majority of technical assistance programs provided for Korea during this period were FSTC projects.
Although The Annals of Science and Technology and The 10-Year History of Science and Technology suggest that programs of technical assistance for Korea included some free grants-in-aid projects that began to flourish in the late 1960s, no specific records on these programs can be found today.
 
 
2 Technical Assistance Received
 
Technical assistance began to flow into Korea in the late 1950s, after the early phase of postwar rehabilitation drew to a conclusion, and flourished until the latter part of Korea’s development, well into the mid-1980s. Given its nature, technical assistance did not accompany much monetary value in comparison to other forms of aid, but exerted great ripple effects nonetheless by strengthening and expanding the human resources and organizational capacity required for national development.

 It was, again, the United States that almost single-handedly kick-started the flow of technical assistance into Korea in the late 1950s after years of providing emergency relief and aid for postwar rehabilitation. Korea began to receive similar technical support from the United Nations (UN) and other multilateral sources in the 1960s. Technical assistance for Korea enjoyed its heyday from the 1960s to the late 1970s.

The Annals of Science and Technology (1987) indicates that Korea received a total of USD 383.3 million in technical assistance over 35 years from 1951 to 1985. The United States was the leading donor of not only financial aid, but also technical assistance, especially in the 1950s and the 1960s. American technical assistance proved to be especially helpful in the 1950s, when there was no other nation similarly invested in the future of Korea’s science and technology. The United States began to support a wide range of FSTC projects, including fellowships for Korean scholars, in the 1950s.

Technical assistance from multilateral sources, such as the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the United Nations Expanded Program for Technical Assistance (UNEPTA), and the United Nations Special Fund (UNSF), began to flourish after the 1960s.

Technical assistance for Korea officially ended in 1999, with the conclusion of the guest training project provided by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). Therefore, Korea must have received much more in technical assistance than the extant records indicate regarding the period until the mid-1980s.

Beginning in the 1960s, Korea began to take part in the Colombo Plan,[2] receiving technical assistance of a sizable total value, partly in aid and partly in contributions.
 
<Technical Assistance by Source (1951 to 1985)>
(Unit: USD 1,000,000)
 

  1951-1961 1962-1971 1972-1981 1982-1985 Total (Proportion, %)
United States 53.1 62.5 22.7 - 138.3(36.0)
United Nations 2.3 42.2 53.6 15.8 113.9(29.78)
Colombo Plan - 7.1 25.2 7.3 39.6(10.3)
Other 55.9 12.12 61.2 18.2 92.0(24.0)
Total 55.9 123.9 162.7 41.3 383.8(100)
 

Source: The 20-Year History of Science and Technology Administration in Korea, Ministry of Science and Technology, 1987, p. 249.
 
As far as the type or nature of assistance is concerned, Korea received all four types of FSTC support in almost equal parts, including the invitation of experts, the overseas training of Korean technicians and engineers, technical services, and the provision of goods and equipment.

For instance, between 1951 and 1985, Korea hosted 4,643 foreign experts in total, and dispatched 20,877 Koreans overseas to acquire professional knowledge, skills, and training. Almost half of the technical assistance that Korea received involved foreign agencies providing technical services and goods and equipment. However, it is difficult to ascertain the exact composition of technical assistance during this period.[3] It is even more difficult to obtain accurate data and information on the technical assistance that Korea received after the mid-1980s.
 
<Technical Assistance by Type (1951 to 1985)>
(Unit: USD 1,000,000)
 

  1951-1961 1962-1971 1972-1981 1982-1985 Total (Proportion, %)
Invitation of experts 13.8 29.1 31.6 15.0 89.5 (23.1)
(No. of experts) (792) (1,547) (1,696) (607) (4,643)
Koreans dispatched for training 8.5 21.5 39.2 15.0 84.2 (22.6)
(No. of trainees) (2,310) (7,049) (8,717) (27,089) (20,784)
Technical services 28.9 38.2 13.3 2.4 82.8 (22.3)
Goods and equipment 4.6 35.1 66.8 8.9 115.4 (31.0)
Total 55.8 123.9 150.9 41.3 371.9(100)
 

Source: The 20-Year History of Science and Technology Administration in Korea, Ministry of Science and Technology, 1987, p. 249.
 

 
[1] The Revised Standard Agreement between the UNILO, the WHO, the ITU, and the Government of the Republic of Korea, effective as of June 19, 1958, provided for the following:
  1. Technical consultation, instructions, and other expert services;
  2. Support for organizing and executing seminars, training programs, demonstration projects, expert working groups, and related activities;
  3. Scholarships, fellowships, etc. for chosen candidates;
  4. Support for the preparation and execution of pilot projects, tests, experiments, and research.
[2] The Colombo Plan is a regional economic cooperation organization membered by states of the Commonwealth of Nations that was created in Colombo, Sri Lanka, in 1951. The full official title was the Colombo Plan for Cooperative Economic Development in Asia and Southeast Asia. The name has since changed to the Colombo Plan for Cooperative Economic Development in Asia and the Pacific, and the organization today counts 24 states as members, of which Korea is one, and an observer (Mongolia). Korea became a member in 1963.
[3] A more detailed description, relatively speaking, of the technical assistance that Korea received from 1951 to 1965 can be found in Choi Jonggi, “A Review of the Technical Assistance Plan,” Commentary on Public Administration, vol. 5, no. 1, Korea Public Administration Research Institute at Seoul National University, 1967.

Source: Korea International Cooperation Agency. 2004. Study on Development Aid and Cooperation for South Korea: Size, Scope and Exemplary Effects. Seoul.