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`Korea Initiative` to Change Aid for Developing Nations

Posted June. 01, 2010 12:20,   


The government will propose to the Group of 20 economies a shift in global assistance to developing countries from improving social welfare to building infrastructure necessary for social and economic development.

The “Korea Initiative” will be officially announced at the G20 summit slated for November in Seoul.

The preparatory committee for the Seoul G20 summit said Monday that as the chair of the meeting, Korea will urge help for developing countries as a major agenda item and propose a new form of assistance to them.

The core parts of the proposal is for the world to help developing countries build telecommunication networks, roads and industrial facilities and cultivate industrial personnel so that they can pursue economic development on their own.

Major international organizations such as the United Nations, the World Bank and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development have focused their assistance to developing nations on social welfare programs, including fighting disease, enhancing school attendance and food safety, and lowering the infant mortality rate.

A senior committee official said, “We plan to provide an opportunity to change the way the world helps developing countries and for non-G20 nations to grow interested in the G20 regime.”

The proposal comes amid questions over whether social welfare-centered aid is appropriate and effective. Critics say the traditional way of assistance temporarily improves living standards in developing countries, but makes the countries dependent on international assistance because of their lack of infrastructure.

The backdrop of Seoul’s focus on social and economic infrastructure lies in Korea’s experience in transforming from an impoverished country into an advanced economy through active building of industrial infrastructure.

“In the process of changing the way the world helps developing countries, Korea can act as a bridge between advanced and developing nations, while spreading its economic growth model and know-how to developing economies around the world,” a Strategy and Finance Ministry source said.

The preparatory committee added that certain G20 countries briefed on the proposal have shown a positive response. It will make a presentation on the proposal at the G20 summit in Toronto this month and announce specific implementation plans at the November summit in Seoul.