Analysis on Africa's Development Needs and Korea's Sectorial Plan for ODA
7 Pages Posted: 29 Oct 2013 Last revised: 30 Oct 2013
Date Written: October 25, 2013
The total amount of the official development assistance (ODA) that Korea has made to Africa, including grants and loans, exceeded USD 450 million as of 2010. Despite the impressive growth in the quantity of ODA funding, not much detailed analysis has been done on the quality of Korea’s ODA projects in Africa. The quality of Korea’s ODA for Africa can be enhanced once we identify which areas or sectors of development cooperation Korea should focus on in providing such assistance.
In recognition of this growing need, this study identifies the four core areas of development cooperation between South Korea and Africa in light of Africa’s needs and Korea’s capacity to provide. It also makes a series of proposals on how to increase and execute ODA for each area.
2. Agriculture and Rural Development
In agriculture, Korea should focus primarily on enhancing the technical cooperation and capability development in Africa given the state of agricultural development on the continent and Korea’s assistance capacity. We must heed the historical lesson that agricultural advancement in Africa will simply not happen through material aid alone. Rather, it requires “software” components of support for the development of the Africans’ own capabilities, which is just as important. Another important agricultural issue that warrants attention is the food processing technology. Most countries in Africa presently lack adequate processing facilities and are thus compelled to export raw crops, relying heavily on imports for highly processed food products with a higher added value. It is thus necessary to support and foster the growth of an agricultural processing industry in Africa, by providing help in developing requisite training centers and processing industry clusters. This will lead to more jobs and higher incomes for Africans and an increasing volume of exports from the continent.
Increasing support for the expansion of agricultural infrastructure, including micro-irrigation facilities, should also be considered. The vast majority of farms in Africa still rely solely on natural rainfall for irrigation and thus are extremely vulnerable to droughts.
In order to ensure the stability of agricultural production, it is of paramount importance to develop facilities and systems of reliable water supplies. Otherwise, attempts to introduce enhanced varieties or new agricultural techniques would end in vain. Given the present conditions of agriculture in Africa and the limited development assistance that Korea can provide, Korea should concentrate on supporting the expansion of micro-irrigation facilities that can be achieved at a relatively smaller cost.
This approach will require Korea, first and foremost, to make a precise and scientific assessment of the farming conditions in Africa. The status of irrigation varies greatly in Africa from country to country or region to region. Some regions boast of their rich reservoirs of water resources, such as lakes and rivers, and can easily benefit from the installation of irrigation facilities. Others, however, lack the requisite natural conditions to make the expansion of irrigation systems effective or feasible.
Another important factor accountable for the chronic shortages of food supplies in Africa involves postharvest losses (PHLs). The lack of facilities to store harvested crops forces African farmers to sell their crops at very low prices immediately after harvesting, and to purchase food supplies at much higher prices during hard times. In addition, because much of the crops in Africa are harvested when their water content reaches 20-30%, they are especially susceptible to vermin, which is prevalent amid heavy rainfalls during the harvest season. In order to minimize these postharvest losses, it is crucial to provide a greater number of storage facilities for African farmers.
Keywords: ODA, Africa, Economic development
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