Monday, August 5, 2013

The Aid Architecture of South Korea

The government’s aid structure consists of two pillars: the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MOFAT) and its executing agency, Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) on the one hand, and the Ministry of Strategy and Finance (MOSF) and Korea Exim Bank’s Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF) on the other hand. The former is responsible for policy and implementation of about 80% of all grants of South Korea and the latter is involved in that of all concessional loans. 
<Government Complex and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs>         
The MOFAT and the MOSF had different goals and philosophy in aid policy. The difference was well contrasted in the International Development Cooperation Acts drafted by legislators in the Foreign Affairs, Trade and Unification Committee and that in the Strategy and Finance Committee of the National Assembly. The MOFAT’s foreign aid policy aimed for the realization of humanitarianism, and global peace and prosperity through poverty reduction and sustainable development in developing countries, while the MOSF’s aid policy aimed for mutual economic cooperation. 
The National Assembly of the Republic of Korea

Indeed, the goal and value that the foreign affairs ministry cherished in aid policy was similar to that of the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC), which seeks to “help to reduce poverty and achieve Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).” The similarity did not come by coincidence, but came from the fact that diplomats were socialized into international development community by frequently exchanging ideas and information in bilateral and multilateral meetings. In contrast, the aid policy of the MOSF was different from that of the DAC as the DAC member countries were increasingly away from the trend to take advantage of aid for their economic interests.
Korea International Cooperation Agency
Korea Exim Bank
Seok Joon Kim, Political Science PhD candidate 2014,
Sigur Center 2013 Summer Research Fellow,
South Korea

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