Korea supports data and statistical capacity in its partner countries for greater transparency and accountability and in line with principles identified in the Busan Action Plan for Statistics. Its support entails funding of data-related infrastructure, technical assistance to partner countries’ national statistical offices and line ministries, and advocacy at the international level for the importance of development data and statistics for development effectiveness.

Korea’s 2016-20 Mid-term Strategy for Development Cooperation has a vision of contributing to global to co-prosperity and peace. Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is the overarching outcome for Korea’s development co-operation. It works towards the SDGs by sharing lessons from its own development experience, through financial assistance, capacity building and technical co-operation. Building on the Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness, which it hosted in 2011 in Busan, Korea is champions development effectiveness at the global level. The High Level Forum also endorsed a renewed action plan for statistics, Statistics for Transparency, Accountability, and Results: A Busan Action Plan for Statistics,1 which, building on the 2004 Marrakech Action Plan for Statistics, stresses a system-wide approach to capacity development; recognises the importance of synergies between different types of statistics; and supports greater transparency and the use of new methods and technologies to increase the reliability and accessibility of statistics. In line with this call, Korea supports data and statistical capacity development in partner countries for greater transparency and accountability.

Four institutions are engaged in Korea’s efforts to improve data and statistics in its partner countries:

  • Export-Import Bank of Korea’s (Korea Eximbank) Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF). Eximbank is the only implementing agency for the government’s concessional loan programmes on behalf of the Ministry of Economy and Finance.

  • Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), the development co-operation agency in charge of implementing grant aid programmes on behalf of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. KOICA is the primary implementing agency of the government’s grant aid programmes, and the only agency wholly dedicated to official development assistance (ODA).

  • Korea’s Ministry of Economy and Finance, until 2018 named the Ministry of Strategy and Finance, has also contributed funds to the World Bank’s Trust Fund for Statistical Capacity Building (TFSCB) as well as the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) Data for Development Fund.

  • Statistics Korea (KOSTAT), the government organisation in charge of planning, co-ordinating and disseminating national statistics. Through co-operation with sister organisations, it is carrying out a number of data for development projects, providing technical assistance and engaging in international fora.

Korea’s inter-ministerial co-ordination mechanism, the Committee for International Development Cooperation, oversees development activities across all government agencies, co-ordinating activities between ministries and agencies with subordinate committees for grant aid and concessional loans to prevent programme duplication.

According to OECD data and research,2 Korea’s ODA disbursed to data and statistics has increased from an average of USD 9.4 million per year in 2010-14 (in 2018 prices) to USD 28.8 million in the second half of the decade (Figure 1). Between 2017 and 2019, the last three years for which data are currently available, 29% of Korea’s ODA to data and statistics was targeted to economic statistics, 23% to environmental statistics and 11% to general statistical capacity building. Project-type interventions accounted for nearly 90% of Korea’s total ODA for data and statistics from Korea. However, projects implemented by different agencies typically have different themes, modalities and counterparts, for example:

  • Korea’s Economic Development Cooperation Fund has provided concessional loans for investments in data-related infrastructure and capacity development such as data centres that aim to support evidence-based policy planning and implementation as well as e-government services. As an example, the Construction of Data Centers for the National ID System Project in the United Republic of Tanzania mainly consists of building the data centres and establishing a national identification system and an automated fingerprint identification system. The project aims to improve the efficiency of governmental administration, including national human resources, strengthening national security, expanding tax revenues and election security. The EDCF has also invested in information systems, for instance, in the area of tax revenue (Lao People’s Democratic Republic) or land and resource management (Tunisia and Uzbekistan).

  • KOICA provides grants and technical assistance to both national statistical offices and line ministries, strengthening core statistical systems and providing training programmes. Among single-country projects in the area of statistical capacity building, Morocco accounted for the largest share of KOICA’s statistical support (USD 6.45 million between 2014 and 2019). Other key partners included Myanmar (USD 2 million between 2013 and 2015), Bangladesh (USD 1.6 million between 2008 and 2009) and Ghana (USD 1 million between 2011 and 2012). However, KOICA also provides support to other data-related projects, e.g. land (Kyrgyzstan and Viet Nam) and health information systems (Philippines), as well as technical assistance to enhance the capacity of relevant government officials in partner countries. Between 2014 and 2019, KOICA supported eight technical training courses in the area of statistical capacity building for officials from 21 partner countries with a budget of USD 1.66 million.

  • KOSTAT’S ODA programmes in 2018 included projects with sister organisations in Azerbaijan, Colombia and the Lao People’s Democratic Republic. Projects focused on economic and social statistics, protocols for the use of administrative data, and learning and IT infrastructure. KOSTAT is also engaged in international co-operation, including the organisation of workshops and training programmes in co-operation with international partners.

Finally, a small share of Korea’s total support is channelled to select multilateral initiatives, notably the United Nations’ Statistical Institute for Asia and the Pacific (UN SIAP), the World Bank’s Trust Fund for Statistical Capacity Building (TFSCB) and the IMF’s Data for Decisions (D4D) Fund. The latter two are contributed by Korea’s Ministry of Economy and Finance via the Korea-World Bank Partnership Facility and the Korea-IMF partnership on capacity development, respectively.

As a member of the steering committee of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation (GPEDC), Korea advocates for the importance of sound data and statistics in partner countries for mutual accountability. In 2020, the GPEDC adopted the strengthening of effective support to statistical capacity and data as one action area within its 2020-2022 work programme. In light of this, the Korea International Cooperation Agency is planning to implement the GPEDC Learning and Accelerating Programme3 in 2021, a training programme related to GPEDC principles and implementation with the tentative theme of strengthening data/statistics capacity and use of data for localising the Effective Development Co-operation principles. The programme will not only aim to provide capacity building on collecting, managing and utilising data and statistics, but also focus on enhancing the overall development effectiveness in partner countries through: promoting data- and evidence-driven decision making; localising the principles of effective development co-operation in a whole-of-society approach; and strengthening linkages with the 2020-22 GPEDC work programme.

Since various partner countries have aligned their national development strategies or programmes with the 2030 Agenda, Korea prioritises statistical capacity building related to the SDGs (e.g. monitoring of SDG progress) when designing projects. In the long term, support for statistical governance – including capacity for managing data systems and guidelines, modifying statistical laws and regulations and standard setting – is key to enhancing sustainability of the improved capacity.

According to OECD data, Korea allocated 29% of its overall ODA for data and statistics in 2017-19 to economic statistics (Figure 2), 23% to environmental statistics and 11% to general statistical capacity development. Support for economic statistics is driven by Korea’s EDCF, which accounted for 61% of total disbursements and allocated 41% of its funding to economic statistics, and KOICA, which accounted for 24% of total disbursements and allocated around 7% to economic statistics. However, KOICA also allocated around 43% to environmental statistics, 20% to general statistical capacity development and around 5% to health statistics. The Ministry of Economy and Finance, with a share of 5% of the total, allocated nearly 80% of its disbursements in 2017-19 to economic statistics. Finally, KOSTAT, also with a share of around 6% of the total, allocated its entire ODA spending to general statistical capacity building.

Ninety-five per cent of Korea’s ODA to data and statistics between 2017 and 2019 was allocable by region, with two-thirds allocated to Asia and close to 30% allocated to Africa. Top recipients by percentage were the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (32%), Tanzania (23%), and Uzbekistan (13%), which together accounted for more than two-thirds of Korea’s ODA to data and statistics over this time period (Figure 3 and Figure 4).

Between 2017 and 2019, nearly 90% of Korea’s ODA to data and statistics were disbursed to low- and lower middle-income countries (Figure 5). Close to 60% was allocated to states classified as fragile. The geographic distribution of Korea’s support changed markedly after 2013/14, with larger shares allocated to low-income countries and smaller shares allocated to lower and upper middle-income countries, a shift that is also reflected by an increase in the share of support directed to African countries.

In 2017-19, 89% of Korea’s ODA was delivered in the form of project-type interventions, with technical assistance and core contributions and contributions to specific-purpose programmes and funds managed by implementing partners accounting for the remainder (Figure 6).

Between 2010 and 2019, Korea’s ODA to data and statistics was to a large extent channelled to government actors, either Korean (30% in 2017-19) or in partner countries (61%) (Figure 7). The remaining 9% were split largely between the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD, 36%), the IMF (22%), the World Bank (21%) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM, 18%).


← 1. The action plan has three principal objectives: 1) fully integrate statistics into decision making; 2) promote open access to statistics; and 3) increase resources for statistical systems. It calls for five actions relating to: 1) a focus on national and regional statistical strategies; 2) standards to ensure full public access; 3) strengthening of capacity to use data effectively; 4) increasing the visibility of statistics at global summits and high-level fora; and 5) increased funding.

← 2. The analysis in this profile is based on official data reported by members to the OECD’s Creditor Reporting System. It is published under the responsibility of the OECD. OECD analysts mined the database using a text search with manual curation. Where relevant, members contributed additional data to fill gaps. Please see the methodological annex for further details on the data analysis.

← 3. The Learning and Accelerating Programme was created alongside the Busan Global Partnership Forum to meet countries’ demand for training in selected areas related to GPEDC implementation. It provides a platform and venue for participants from partner countries to share experiences on their GPEDC implementation and engage in in-depth discussions on challenges and potential solutions. By 2021, four sessions had been organised (2014, 2015, 2016 and 2018).

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