For South Korea, aid to Uganda marks a trend

Photo by: newflower / CC BY-NC-ND

South Korea has just donated $2 million to a World Food Program project in Uganda. It is one the latest signs the donor is scaling up its presence in the country and in Africa as a whole.

The donation from the Korea International Cooperation Agency will support a WFP project designed to improve the nutrition and boost the incomes of some 12,000 people in Uganda’s Karamoja region. This project will be implemented over the next 18 months through the Karamoja Integrated Development Program.

South Korea has been significantly increasing its official development assistance for Uganda over the past few years. In 2010, it committed $28.5 million in project support and technical assistance to the Ugandan government and local nongovernmental organizations, according to data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The aid was disbursed in grants for programs in the following sectors: agriculture and rural development, education, health, environment, energy, urban development, governance, and information and communication technology.

The 2010 budget was significantly higher than South Korea’s allocation for Uganda in 2009, which totaled $1.54 million in grants for health, and agriculture and rural development initiatives. Uganda received $680,000 from South Korea in 2008, $1.96 million in 2007 and $163,000 in 2006.

This rise in South Korean aid to Uganda reflects a similar rise in the donor’s spending for the whole of Africa, which is fast becoming a continent of focus for South Korea, as KOICA officials have told Devex. KOICA provided a total of $67.7 million in bilateral and multilateral aid to the region in 2010, according to the agency’s annual report. This was 14.9 percent of the total aid managed by KOICA for that year.

South Korea, in general, is becoming more actively engaged in the international development community. In addition to a steady increase in aid spending, it hosted key conferences in the past two years: a Group of 20 meeting which focused on development, and the Fourth High Level Conference on Aid Effectiveness in Busan.

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About the author

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    Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.