International Development Planning Review

Policy analysis of Korea’s development cooperation with sub-Saharan Africa: a focus on fragile states

International Development Planning Review Ahead of print, 1–25.


It has been ten years since the New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States was endorsed by the global community. The government of South Korea set out development initiatives to put fragile states at the top of its development agenda and substantially increased its bilateral aid to them. This study analyses the policy orientations of South Korea’s aid to fragile states by exploring the determinants of Korea’s official development assistance to forty-eight sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries over the period 2010-2019 with reference to the top ten OECD donors to SSA countries as a group. The study found that South Korea does not give special consideration to the needs of fragile states. Unfortunately, this result is not only for South Korea but for the top ten OECD donors as well. While South Korea’s aid has been responsive to post-natural disaster displacement in SSA countries, the overall results indicate that donors in general have failed to embrace their commitment to state-building and peacebuilding in the New Deal for Fragile States and the 2030 Agenda. Given that pursuing ‘development and peace’ is a collective and enduring process with shared obligations and responsibilities across countries, donors shall prioritise development efforts on countries that need most assistance.

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