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 Seoul will help poor nations fight 'aid trap'

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PostSubject: Seoul will help poor nations fight 'aid trap'   Seoul will help poor nations fight 'aid trap' EmptyTue Oct 26, 2010 4:12 am

By Kang Hyun-kyung

Korea vowed Monday to contribute more financial resources and tailored technical assistance to join the global effort to help poor nations get out of the “aid trap.”

Korea is the first recipient-turned-donor nation, and now seeks to help poor nations falling into the trap of becoming aid-reliant economies with its know how in rising to be Asia’s fourth largest economy from one of the world’s poorest nations five decades ago.

Unveiling the road map to international development assistance, the Prime Minister’s Office vowed to devise a unique aid model applicable to less developed nations to end poverty there.

Under the plan, the government will raise the ratio of official development assistance (ODA) to 0.25 percent of gross national income (GNI) by 2015 from the current 0.1 percent.

The average GNI ratio of ODA among the members of OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC) is 0.31 percent.
Korea joined the DAC last year.

In the strategy plan, the government stressed that it could help nations struggling to fight poverty with country-specific aid programs based on its experience of achieving condensed industrialization in a relatively short period of time.

Korea’s dramatic rise to become an economic powerhouse in Asia from one of the poorest nations in the wake of the Korean War (1950-53) came with a unique legacy.

Seoul avoided the so-called aid trap by using foreign aid and loans in building up its economy, and in particular its infrastructure such as the Seoul-Busan Highway and steelmaker POSCO.

Industry experts said the expressway helped businesses cut logistics costs sharply, while POSCO has become a global steel giant.

In a speech during the meeting, Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik called for helping less developed countries with the realistic and applicable aid and loans programs.

To reduce overlapping programs, Kim called on ministries involved in ODA programs, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Ministry of Strategy and Finance, to discuss closely with businesses and non-profit groups when planning overseas aid.

“The public-private partnership in aid will not only ensure wise spending of taxpayers’ money, but also help boost the nation’s profile on the global stage,” he said.

This year, 32 government agencies have implemented 1,073 development assistance projects in 104 countries.
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