South Korea Global Assistance Tops $1.85 Billion

kpride, April 8, 2015, 11:41 a.m.

South Korea’s overseas assistance that went out through the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) reached US$1.85 billion in 2014, as the country moved to do its part to combat poverty and support sustainable growth in the developing world, the government said Wednesday.

The finance ministry said the country’s contribution increases by $90 million or 5.4 percent on-year, which is the highest rise in percentage terms among the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC) members. The amount given, placed the country 16th among the 28 members, unchanged from the year before, it said. All figures cited are provisional tallies provided by the DAC.

The official development assistance offered by Asia’s fourth largest economy is equal to 0.13 percent of its gross national income, again unchanged from the previous year. Corresponding numbers for the United States and Japan stood at 0.19 percent, each, with Britain standing at 0.71 percent.

The finance ministry, however, said that from 2009, when South Korea signed up to join the DAC, to last year, its contribution grew at an average 17.8 percent annually, the highest among all member states. The average for the committee as a whole stood at 2.3 percent.

Of the total provided last year, $1.39 billion was used to directly help individual countries, with the rest being distributed indirectly through international organizations. Among the assistance given to an individual country, grants rose 8.7 percent on-year to $900 million, while the rest were loans that need to be paid back by the user later on.

Asian countries were the main recipients of support getting $650 million, followed by Africa, Latin America and the Middle East.  The ministry said since joining the DAC, Seoul has been committed to helping the developing world.  It said for 2015, South Korea has set aside just under 2.38 trillion won (US$2.17 billion) in overseas assistance.

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