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Overview of Korea’s development experience

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Development Overview
Official Aid General

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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.