How unique is South Korea’s official development assistance (ODA) model?

Lundi 24 novembre 2014

Dossier coordinated by Antoine Bondaz and Léonie Allard

Auteurs : Antoine Bondaz - Léonie Allard

Over half a century, South Korea realized the “miracle of the Han river”. A War-torn region with a GDP lower than that of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the 1960s, South Korea, has become the world’s thirteenth economic power. In 2010, South Korea became the 24th member of the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the OECD, and at the same time the first State to transition from overseas development aid (ODA) beneficiary to aid donor, since the creation of this committee in 1961. South Korea is now willing to expand its ODA while exporting its own experience of development in order to differentiate itself from traditional donors. A question remains: does this newly emerging aid donor model differ from the Western one?
Our dossier is comprised of three articles. The first one is an interview of Kim Young-mok, President of the Korea International Cooperation agency (KOICA), published in French in the third issue of our quarterly journal on Korean affairs, Korea Analysis. The interview provides a broad presentation of Korean ODA, focusing on Seoul’s commitment to increase its aid while emphasizing the need for further cooperation with both traditional donors, like the USA or France, and newly emerging aid donors, like Turkey. We further analyze in a second note Seoul’s ambition to export what it sees as a unique development model, the Saemaul movement. While fostering a Knowledge Sharing Program and funding the implementation of its model in some countries such as Cambodia, the Saemaul movement is criticized in Korea for the role it has played in the strengthening of the authoritarian regime of Park Chung-hee and Chun Doo-hwan, thus raising questions about its adaptability to developing countries. Our third note was also published in French in the quarterly Korea Analysis. It focuses on South Korea’s ODA to Southeast Asia. Not only has ASEAN become the second economic partner of South Korea, but Southeast Asia also remains the main beneficiary of South Korean’s ODA (32.9 % in 2012). Among these countries, Vietnam is clearly the main target and a revealing case study.

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How unique is South Korea’s official development assistance (ODA) model?
November 2014
Publication in English, 10 pp.

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