콘텐츠 바로가기
로그인
컨텐츠
  • HOME
  • SEARCH
PLUS Text Size MINUS RESET
FACEBOOK TWITTER Linked In

Category Open

Development Overview

tutorial

Overview of Korea’s development experience

home

Development Overview
Official Aid General

Print

General

The establishment and development of KOICA

1. The Establishment of KOICA

In 1982, the Korean government began attempting to unify ODA projects implemented by different ministries. The government saw that aid could be more effectively implemented if projects, resources, and knowledge could be coordinated. As a result of these efforts, KOICA was established in 1990 as a special agency to oversee all of Korea’s ODA projects.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs prepared basic plans to establish the ‘Korea Development Cooperation Agency (KDCA),’the precursor to KOICA, in May 1990. The KDCA’s main task was to establish a basic system to unify grant aid programs. This agency was organized with a president and a vice president, six departments, and board of directors within ten members. Some of the board members were appointed automatically from related ministries to ensure better cooperation.

In September 1990, four months after the establishment of KDCA, the International Cooperation Committee, a follow-up committee of the Overseas Cooperation Committee, decided to establish an exclusive international cooperation organization. In less than a year, this proposed organization would be realized by the official establishment of the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA). First, KDCA’s name was legally changed to the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) and plans were made to transform it into a government-funded organization, directly managed by the Ministry of Foreign affairs. Drafts were drawn up outlining the necessary changes including the expansion of the pool of partner countries to include specific regions designated by the Minister of Foreign Affairs. On December 15, 1990, The National Assembly’s Foreign Affairs and Unification Committee and the Legislation-Judiciary Committee passed the final draft of the proposal for KOICA.

The government wasted no time and respectively presented the recently passed bill and enforcement ordinance as Act 4314 on January 14, 1991, and as Presidential Decree 13328 on March 18 of the same year. The Establishment Committee was convened immediately upon the issuance of the Presidential decree, and ten days later, the Minister of Foreign Affairs officially approved the establishment of KOICA. Thus, KOICA became an officially sanctioned and legally recognized organization on April 1, 1991.

Source: Korea International Cooperation Agency. 2011. 20 years of KOICA 1991-2010, Translated by Institute for Development and Human Security, Ewha Womans University. Seoul.

 

##PAGE##

2. The Development of KOICAs Organizational Structure

 

1) Domestic Organization

KOICA hit the ground running. Its first task was to create a team that would manage all the ODA projects currently being implemented by different ministries. Another primary task was to establish a set of basic rules for project implementation and management. During its first board meeting on April 30, 1991, KOICA finalized eight regulations including the rules for the management of board meetings and rules for the establishment and management of overseas offices.

 

[Figure 2-1] The Establishment of KOICA (April 1, 1991)

[Figure 2-1] The Establishment of KOICA (April 1, 1991)

 

KOICA’s administrative structure underwent major changes while searching for the most effective arrangement. Initially, KOICA’s executive team consisted of a president, a vice president, an auditor, and four directors. Today, after undergoing two structural adjustments, the organization consists of a president, an auditor, and four vice presidents, with the Board of Directors consisted of standing members and non standing members.

 

KOICA has taken stringent measures to ensure that KOICA’s executive officers have outstanding qualifications for their positions. Each of KOICA’s presidents previously served as an ambassador, equipped with field experience and professional knowledge from working on the frontline of diplomacy. KOICA’s first president, Lee Nam-ki, served as a Korean ambassador to both Guatemala and Italy. Standing board members hold the positions of General Affairs and Planning Director, Technical Cooperation Director, Development Project Director, and Migration Project Director. Non-standing board members are automatically assigned to the offices of the Foreign Affairs and Security Director-General in the Office for Government Coordination, the Director of the Economic Cooperation Bureau in the Ministry of Finance and Economy, the Director of the International Economy Bureau in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Director of the Construction Economy Bureau in the Ministry of Construction and Transportation, the Employment Management Director-General of the Ministry of Labor, and the director of the Science Technology Cooperation Bureau in the Ministry of Science and Technology.

 

[Figure 2-2] KOICA’s Budget Statement in 1991

[Figure 2-2] KOICA’s Budget Statement in 1991

In 1991, KOICA’s total income consisted of a government contribution of 13.6 billion KRW and KOICA’s own revenue of 400 million KRW. The government contribution was diverted from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (10.7 billion KRW), the Ministry of Science and Technology (1.2 billion KRW), the Ministry of Education (460 million KRW), the Ministry of Labor (930 million KRW), and the Ministry of Construction (300 million KRW).

 

Most of KOICA’s human resources and assets were absorbed from the Korean Overseas Development Corporation (KODCO). A total of 158 staff members were transferred to KOICA from three ministries; 146 from the KODCO, three from the Korea Science and Engineering Foundation, and nine from the Korean National Commission for UNESCO. By the end of 1991, KOICA was strengthening the organization’s function and capacity by recruiting entry-level staff, experienced personnel, and researchers. By 1995, KOICA’s budget had grown along with the number and scope of its projects. The bigger budget allowed KOICA to hold three open recruitment events and hire 44 additional staff members to help deal with the escalating workload. However, during the financial crisis from 1996 to 1997 the organization was forced to lay off a large number of employees.

 

2) Overseas Organization

In its initial stage, KOICA consisted of the headquarters, the affiliated Project Support Enterprise, and six overseas offices. The headquarters, staffed as described previously, was comprised of one office, two bureaus, eight departments, and thirty sections. The overseas offices were located in Canada and Argentina. Later, in order to undertake a field-based approach to ODA projects, overseas offices were established in Indonesia and Thailand in 1992 and in China, Vietnam, and the Philippines in 1994. In April 1995, KOICA established six additional overseas offices in countries including Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Fiji, Paraguay, the Philippines, and Uzbekistan.

 

In December 1996, the headquarters were transformed into a function based structure. ODA projects were now designed to focus more specifically on certain issues, thus encouraging specialization. Meanwhile, liaison offices were established in Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Sri Lanka, Papua New Guinea, and Nepal. Due to the financial crisis in 1997 KOICA was forced to make budgetary adjustments. During this time, the expansion of ODA programs stagnated, but KOICA persevered. The increased focus on specialized aid projects paired with budget reductions made it clear that KOICA needed to increase work efficiency in order take off in this new era.

 

Source: Korea International Cooperation Agency. 2011. 20 years of KOICA 1991-2010, Translated by Institute for Development and Human Security, Ewha Womans University. Seoul.