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Development Overview

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Overview of Korea’s development experience

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Development Overview
Official Aid General

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General

History of Korea’s ODA and KOICA

1. History of Korea’s ODA

The Korea’s ODA programs started in the 1960s when the government began training programs with funds from USAID. Through these programs, the Korean government invited citizens of developing countries to Korea and provided them with training, thereby developing the human resources and boosting capacity building in their home countries. In 1965, the Korean government ceased using USAID funds and began paying for these projects with Korea’s own budget. Since then, Korea has focused on technical cooperation programs by continuing to host training programs and by dispatching experts and medical staff to its partner countries.

Korea’s ODA in the 1970s was primarily influenced by the political competition between South and North Korea. During the Cold War era, aid was strategically given to form political alliances to ensure South Korea’s dominant position over North Korea. In the 1980s, however, ODA projects changed direction and focused on economic development. Korea was planning for the eventual overseas expansion of its domestic companies and creating a foundation for future business in exports. Many projects were launched to further this goal in 1982; the Korea Development Institution (KDI) undertook an education project to share Korea’s experience in economic development, the Ministry of Construction initiated grant aid projects on construction techniques, and the Ministry of Labor initiated projects to establish and manage job training centers.

During the 1980s, Korea’s ODA programs were conducted separately by individual ministries. Due to the increasing number of projects, consolidation was necessary to coordinate projects and make aid more effective. In 1987, the Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF) was established to support concessionary loans to developing countries through Korea’s Export-Import Bank. In 1991, KOICA was established to take charge of all grant ODA projects, thereby organizing today’s ODA implementation system.

After becoming a member of the OECD in the 1990s, Korea’s ODA efforts increased as the international status of the country rose. KOICA integrated many projects which had previously been scattered throughout different government agencies. Furthermore, KOICA organized its administrative system by working with private aid organizations and the newly established International Cooperation Center (ICC). Also during the 1990s, Korea forged partnerships with the World Bank and the ADB and became a member of the Inter-American Development Bank to set up multilateral assistance. 

In 2007, the Korean government created a team to manage the country’s preparation for entering the OECD/DAC. In November 2009, the admission was confirmed and Korea began its activity as an official member state in 2010. In January 2010, the Korean government passed the Framework Act on International Development Cooperation, a comprehensive law on ODA. This legislation more clearly articulated ODA goals and basic norms, specified an actual system to combat ODA implementation inefficiencies and fragmentation, and presented a consistent ODA policy.

[Table 1-1] The History of Korea’s ODA
 
Period Year Activities Organization in Charge
1960s 1963 Training program under the sponsorship of USAID MOFAT, MOST
1965 Training program funded by the Korean government MOFAT, MOST
1967 Implementation of the Experts Program, funded by the Korean government Training Program with the cooperation of the UN and other international organizations MOFAT, MOST
1968 Dispatch of experts through the Medical Experts Program MOST
1970s 1975 Hosted the Technical Trainees Program MOL
1977 Cooperation Project with the UN and other international organizations-training by invitation, aid in-kind MOFAT
1980s 1981 Research Cooperation Program KAIST
1982 International Development Exchange Program (IDEP) KDI
1983 Hosted training for construction workers MOC
1984 Technical cooperation in the construction sector MOC
1987 Establishment of the Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF) Outsourcing EDCF project to Ministry Of Science and
Technology (MOST)
MOF,
MOFAT,
MOST
1988 Grant services for communications technology in developing countries MOIC
1989 Dispatch of volunteers through the KOV Program, First expense of EDCF UNESCO, EPB, EXIM Bank
1990s 1991 Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) established  
1995 First dispatch of international cooperation personnel NGO Support Program KOICA
1996 EDCF $100M  
2000s 2001 Accumulated EDCF exceeds USD1.6 billion MOFE
2002/2003 Special Assistance Program to Afghanistan KOICA
2005 Rehabilitation projects following South East Asian Tsunami Korea joins IDB KOICA
MOFE
2009 Korea joined OECD/DAC (Nov 25)  
2010 First anniversary of DAC membership; International Development Cooperation Day proclaimed (Nov. 25) KOICA
※ Source: KOICA website and ODA Korea (www.koica.go.kr, www.oda.go.kr)

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