Top Korean official responsible for development aid visits Sri Lanka

Tuesday, 18 June 2013 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Republic of Korea Prime Minister’s Office International Development Assistance Division Director General, Paek Il-Hyun visited Sri Lanka recently. During his visit Paek had a meeting with Treasury Deputy Secretary Dr. D.M.S. Batagoda to understand the various development needs of the country and discuss future cooperation between the two countries. He also visited a number of project sites including the solar power plant and the government complex in Hambantota which are funded by the Korean Government.

Commending the Sri Lankan economy, Paek noted that Sri Lanka has made significant economic development in the past few years despite the negative global economy and instability in the international financial markets. He was impressed by Sri Lanka’s rapid economic development and said that Sri Lankan economic development shares similarities with Korea’s past.

Speaking with Dr. Batagoda, Paek stated that as Korea was once a recipient country of foreign development aid, it aims to provide assistance befitting the development priorities and national development programs of partner countries. He noted that to this end, understanding the needs of the partner country’s development priorities is very important in carrying out the agreed projects between two countries.

He further mentioned that with the efforts of the two countries, the Country Partnership Strategy Plan is currently underway up to year 2016 to support Sri Lanka to achieve balanced and sustainable development in line with its national development program. Paek noted that Sri Lankan Government’s efforts on human resource development and capacity building are similar to what Korea did during the ‘70s. He then expressed Korea’s support and expertise on the Sri Lanka’s key development agenda and a keen interest on Sri Lanka’s development road map as laid down in ‘Mahinda Chintana’.

Dr. Batagoda, in return, expressed his appreciation and satisfaction on Korea’s current development assistance in Sri Lanka and said that more cooperation could be initiated in many fields between the two countries. The two parties have agreed to work closely in the field of Development Cooperation in order to successfully carry forward the Country Partnership Strategy.

In the recent past, Korea has made a fast transition from an aid recipient country to a donor country and in 2010 Korea became a member of the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee. The Government of Korea annually provides approximately US$ 70 – 80 million dollars to the Sri Lankan Government in the form of grants under KOICA assistance and loans under Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF) to achieve balanced and sustainable development and to assist social integration in line with its national development program. A Framework Arrangement which enables the Sri Lankan Government to obtain a soft loan from the Korean Government up to US$ 290 million till 2015 was also signed last year. At present, Sri Lanka is the fourth largest development cooperation partner country with US$ 470 million EDCF loans and US$ 85 million KOICA grants. All development projects have been carefully selected through in-depth assessment and multiple discussions to draw out Sri Lanka’s developmental challenges and to reflect the country’s development needs.