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Seoul vows to double official development aid by 2015

South Korea will play a key role in devising a new global development cooperation paradigm, and more than double its assistance to developing countries over the next three years, Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik said Tuesday.

Speaking during the second session of the Asia-Europe Meeting held in Laos for a two-day run from Monday, Kim stressed the necessity of expanding official development aid despite global economic difficulties, according to his office in Seoul.

“Development cooperation is an investment in the future, not simply helping poor countries,” Kim said. “Recognizing that, South Korea plans to increase the amount of its ODA more than two-fold over the next three years.”

Seoul set aside 1.9 trillion won ($1.74 billion), or 0.15 percent of the country’s gross national income, for this year‘s ODA, up from last year’s 1.7 trillion won, or 0.13 percent of the country‘s total income.

The move is part of efforts to double the country’s international development aid to about US$3 billion by 2015, as a way of giving back after previously receiving help from the international community. With the help of international aid, the country has risen from the rubble of the 1950-53 Korean War to become a vibrant democracy within the ranks of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Kim also called for support for education, which “not only meets the basic need of human beings but serves as the groundwork for a country‘s effective and sustainable economic development.”

Introducing some of Seoul’s diverse projects to provide each recipient with customized aid, Kim stressed South Korea‘s efforts to help developing countries develop their own vision and sense of sovereignty. He also called for strengthening partnerships between governments and civil societies in pushing for development projects, according to his office. (Yonhap News)
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