South Korea said Monday that it will increase this year's aid for developing countries by 11 percent as part of efforts to return what it received from the international community to rebuild its war-torn economy decades ago.
A total of 2.27 trillion won ($2.14 billion), or some 0.16 percent of the country's gross national income, has been earmarked for this year's official development aid, according to the Prime Minister's Secretariat.
It is up from last year's 2.04 trillion won, or 0.15 percent of the country's total income, it added.
The move is part of the country's efforts to increase its overseas aid to over 0.2 percent of the country's GNI by 2015.
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.
Of this year's budget, some 1.54 trillion won will be earmarked for bilateral projects, with 724.3 billion for multilateral schemes, according to the office.
By region, some 46.9 percent will be funneled into projects in Asia, followed by 16.7 percent into Africa and 6 percent into Latin American countries, it added.
The aid will be mainly for the establishment of economic and social infrastructure in underdeveloped countries, with some 15.8 percent, or the largest share, to be spent for transport infrastructure, followed by 12.7 percent for water resources and 12.2 percent on education.
As part of its efforts for "win-win ODA," Seoul vowed to strengthen support for customized projects based upon each recipient's circumstances, according to the Secretariat.
The government also plans to seek ways to create more opportunities for private entities and adolescents here to advance to overseas markets via the aid projects, it added.
"We were able to upgrade our ODA projects both in terms of quality and quantity, spending more than 2 trillion won for the first time ever with diverse projects," Prime Minister Chung Hong-won said.
"But more efforts are needed to be a leading contributor to the international community," he said, instructing close cooperation among ministries concerned and active communication with recipients. (Yonhap News)