The government of South Korea has announced that it will increase its foreign aid, according to AsiaNews:
Korea spent 0.06 per cent of its Gross National Income (GNI) in development assistance in 2004, which some say is too small for the size of its economy, the 12th largest in the world.
Although South Korea’s spending in development assistance rose to 0.09 percent of GNI last year, it is still far from the United Nations recommendation of 0.7 per cent of the economy.
After Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Ban Ki-moon announced his run for the UN secretary-general’s position, it was pointed out that Korea should raise its development spending to improve its voice in the global community.
So a country has advanced their foreign minister to be UNSG and yet they barely participate in one of the most important parts of the UN agenda, development. And then the year before running for UNSG, they increase their aid by about 50%.
South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun announced during his trip to Nigeria in March that his country will triple its Official Development Assistance budget for Africa to approximately US$100 million by 2008.
So what countries will receive this money? We know some. $18m was promised to Tanzania, a UNSC member. We know that more was promised to Ghana, another UNSC member. We have heard that substantial aid has been offered to other countries, but we have not been able to document this.
Note that this is not unheard of. A recent study out of Harvard University found that, “on average, a non-permanent member of the council enjoys a 59- per-cent increase in total aid from the United States and an 8-per- cent increase in total development aid from the United Nations.”
It would be interesting to know the country-by-country breakdown of recent increases in South Korean development assistance.