The Korea Herald


S. Korea to provide $53m to Latin America in coronavirus-related ODA

Finance Ministry set to promote ‘K-quarantine’ model globally

By Bae Hyunjung

Published : May 18, 2020 - 16:05

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South Korea will deliver a combined $53 million to Central and South American countries to help them deal with COVID-19, as part of efforts to promote the country’s esteemed quarantine model globally, officials said Monday.

The Ministry of Economy and Finance has decided to deliver $50 million to Paraguay in the form of joint financing between the Inter-American Development Bank and the Economic Development Cooperation Fund.

Established in 1959, the IDB is the largest source of development financing for Latin America and the Caribbean zone. The EDCF, affiliated with the state-run Export-Import Bank of Korea and supervised by the Finance Ministry, is a representative aid fund of Asia’s fourth-largest economy.

The latest aid action came in response to an urgent assistance request from Paraguay and the IDB and also reflected Seoul’s earlier vow to expand fiscal spending to help emerging economies advance their health care systems.

The corresponding amount will be used to stabilize the region’s macroeconomy, establish an emergency disaster control headquarters, overcome current economic crises, and set up policy goals in the post-coronavirus era, officials said.

Throughout the process, Korean officials will focus on passing on the so-called “K-quarantine” model -- the country’s anti-pandemic governance which pivots upon the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“We hope that this new joint financing will open up new horizons in the bilateral relationship, which has so far been largely limited to small-scale assistance,” the ministry said in a release.

In a separate action, the ministry has also approved four health care projects worth $3 million in the region, on the back of its trust fund at the IDB.

The budget comprises $1 million to share Korea’s information and communications technology-based health care network, $1 million to encourage Korean startups’ technology exchange, $800,000 to build a tele-education platform in Uruguay, and $200,000 to introduce a self-quarantine monitoring application in Peru.

In late April, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki unveiled a road map to provide $400 million for health projects in developing countries and postpone the maturity of debts worth $110 million, seeking to respond to the escalating global economic crisis.

He also presented the government’s plan to expand Eximbank’s official development assistance budget to $400 million from the conventional $145 million.

“In light of the COVID-19 situation, we shall make the best use of the (so-called) K-quarantine model as an asset to advance economic cooperation, to pioneer new markets and to improve the country’s reputation in the international community,” the top fiscal policymaker said.

By Bae Hyun-jung (