To many Africans who have visited the Republic of Korea, three scenarios come to mind when thinking of this country: breathtaking scenery, hallyu, cultural heritage and unique cuisine; the absence of poverty and hunger; remarkable economic growth; and Koreans willingness to share their development experience.
Despite these encouraging developments, Africans need to pose one fundamental question: Can Korea become a reliable and indispensable partner in realizing the African dream? This question is pertinent for two reasons.
One, Korea is a member of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development Development Assistance Committee (OECD DAC) which accounts for 80 percent of total Official Development Aid (ODA). But unlike China and the richer OECD members, Korea does not have deep pockets. As reported by the OECD on April 9, 2018, bilateral and multilateral ODA from OECD countries in 2017 was $146.6 billion which represent 0.31 percent as a share of gross national income (GNI). The U.S. was the largest donor at $35.3 billion; followed by Germany, $24.7 billion; the U.K., $17.9 billion; Japan, $11.5 billion; and France, $11.4 billion. Korea came in at $2.2 billion, representing 0.14 percent of its GNI.
Secondly, the commitment to the development index (CDI) 2017, from the Center for Global Development, which ranks 27 of the world's richest countries on their dedication to policies that benefit people living in poorer nations, places Korea at the bottom. The CDI uses seven components namely aid, finance, technology, the environment, trade, security and migration. Except for technology and finance, Korea scores very poorly on all the other components.
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