As part of South Korea’s plans to grow its presence throughout Asia, the government is expecting to increase foreign aid. Laos which is struggling economically but is also strategically located will be a large beneficiary of this new policy initiative.
Seoul’s foreign ministry plans to earmark 4.84 billion won (US$4.3 million) in official development assistance (ODA) next year to Laos. That is more than twice the 2.04 billion won set aside for this year’s programs.
The budget is to support a wide array of projects including educational spending for Souphanouvong University and drawing national topographic maps, as well as increasing support for existing programs in medical care. We have also learned hat infrastructure projects are also being considered.
South Korea has committed a total of 1.9 trillion won for this year’s ODA, with a plan to increase the amount to 0.25 percent of the country’s gross national income from the current 0.15 percent. This reflects both a desire to support development in neighbouring countries as well as to extend South Korea’s influence in the region.