Since the 1990s, South Korea has both increased its ODA and expanded the type of support that it provides. Its ODA policy states that it should focus on poverty reduction and sustainable development in order to create an environment South korea where all people can live a decent life and contribute to global peace and prosperity. In sub-Saharan Africa specifically, South Korea’s development assistance focuses on human resource development and government capacity-building, including projects in health, information technology, education and agriculture.
From 2000 to 2009, South Korea’s total development assistance (excluding bilateral debt relief) increased from $233.31 million to $815.8 million (2009 prices) – an increase of 250%. Contributions to multilateral agencies in 2009 accounted for $235.5 million, approximately one-third of the country’s total development assistance. UN agencies received $57 million, the World Bank $93.2 million and regional development banks $67.7 million.
South Korea’s development assistance to sub-Saharan Africa also increased from 2000 to 2009: bilateral assistance grew by 465%, while multilateral ODA increased by 73%. Recently, South Korea pledged to triple its global assistance by 2015 and to double its assistance to Africa by 2012. At the Korea–Africa forum in November 2009, South Korea committed to accept 5,000 African trainees and to send 1,000 volunteers to the continent between 2009 and 2012.
Trade between sub-Saharan Africa and South Korea has also significantly increased since 2000. Exports from South Korea grew from $2.3 billion in 2000 to $9.5 billion in 2008, and imports from sub-Saharan Africa increased from $3 billion to $4.2 billion. According to UNCTAD’s 2009 report, South Korea was also one of the top 20 countries investing in the continent, based on 2003–07 averages.