NATIONAL

Park vows to provide more than $11 mln in aid to African countries

By 신현희
  • Published : Dec 1, 2015 - 22:15
  • Updated : Dec 1, 2015 - 22:15

PARIS (Yonhap) -- President Park Geun-hye pledged Tuesday to provide more than $11 million to 10 African countries over the next five years for vocational training, calling education a solution to ending violent extremism and "an integral ingredient" to economic success.

South Korea has helped five African countries -- Malawi, Zambia, Botswana, Namibia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo -- in developing and distributing textbooks under the $10 million project since 2011. The project is set to end in 2016.

South Korea plans to add five new African countries for a second phase of the project with a budget of about $11.8 million. There is no word yet on which countries will be the new recipients.

"Poverty, the lack of jobs for the young and social marginalization of the vulnerable, among others, are creating hotbeds of discord and conflict," Park said in a speech at UNESCO in Paris. "Against this backdrop, Korea will more actively scale up its contributions to international efforts to deal with such challenges facing humanity."

She also said education could help sow in the minds of children in conflict zones the seeds of reconciliation over hatred, dialogue over violence and hope over despair.

"The answer lies in none other than education," Park said, noting addressing social and economic root causes that feed terrorism is critical to ending violent extremism.

She also vowed to take active part in international endeavors to combat terrorism.

On Monday, she visited the site of the deadly terror attack in Paris after attending the U.N. climate change summit, in a symbolic gesture that underscored South Korea's solidarity with France.

Park laid white chrysanthemums in front of the Bataclan Theater and paid silent tribute to those who were killed in the attack on Nov. 13.

Park also said South Korea will collaborate on education to make a better world, saying the case of South Korea shows that education offers "the surest and most sustainable foundation for fostering peace and prosperity."

South Korea's education fervor helped transform the country into Asia's fourth-largest economy from the ashes of the 1950-53 Korean War.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, a former South Korean foreign minister, has said that education was the key to South Korea becoming the first former aid recipient to join the ranks of official donors in a half-century.