South Korea has pledged some $590 million worth of economic aid for Africa for the next two years — yet another sign of the donor’s growing focus on the region.
The commitment was announced by South Korea’s minister of strategy and finance, Bahk Jae-wan, at the end of the 2012 Korea Africa Economic Cooperation Conference in Seoul, according to the Yonhap News Agency. The conference, co-hosted by the African Development Bank, was attended by ministers of South Korea and various African countries.
The sum includes South Korea’s $15 million contribution for the African Development Fund over the next two years, the $76.8 million loans theExport-Import Bank of Korea has agreed to provide to Uganda and Tanzania, and the $11.89 million funding the South Korean government plans to channel through its Knowledge Sharing Program for African countries.
Sector-wise, some $368.8 million of the pledged funding will be spent primarily on infrastructure and natural resources development projects while $61.9 million is allocated for information and communication development. Some $51.1 million will be for human resources development projects while $47 million is allocated for agriculture-focused programs.
Details on the specific projects these funds will support are outlined in a 2013-2014 action plan approved by the ministers who attended the conference in Seoul. A copy of the plan is set to be released in the coming days.
The action plan is only one of South Korea’s various channels for assisting Africa. The Korea International Cooperation Agency also provides grants to Africa as a whole and to individual countries.
Overall, South Korea is increasing its presence in Africa, which KOICA officials said is fast becoming a continent of focus.
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