Once one of the world's poorest countries,
South Korea’s GDP per capita grew from $876 in 1950 to $36,500 in 2015, with
the GINI index of 30.2, indicating a fairly equitably distributed economic
wealth (cf. Sweden, 24.9; US, 45; S Africa, 62.5). The economic gain in South Korea has
accompanied a significant improvement in population health; average life
expectancy improved by 26.7 years between 1960 and 2006, and the infant mortality
decreased by 83% between 1970 and 1999.
These indicators reflect the tremendous success of South Korea in
reducing poverty, improving sanitation, nutrition status and delivery of
treatment for preventable infectious diseases.
Formerly a recipient of foreign aid, South
Korea officially switched to donor status when it joined the OECD's Development
Assistance Committee (DAC) in 2010.
While South Korea’s total Overseas Development Aid (ODA) remains
relatively small compared to other OECD countries (ranked 16th out of 29 DAC
members), it has been steadily growing over the years. The top two priority sectors for the South
Korean government ODA are infrastructure and education, followed by health and
water & sanitation, with health representing 11.5% of the total ODA funding
according to the OECD 2014 data on ODA.
The Creative Technology Solution (CTS) is one
of the latest global health initiatives, launched by the Korean International
Cooperation Agency (KOICA) and funded by the Korean Ministry of Foreign
Affairs. A Grand Challenge-like mechanism of fostering innovation, KOICA CTS
aims to support the achievement of stable and sustained socio-economic growth,
creation of decent jobs and the promotion of the science, technology and
innovation in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with
Tackle and reduce inequalities between countries and between social classes.
Strengthen the effectiveness of development through science, technology and innovation.
Enhance the capacity to adapt to the changing global landscape, and be ready for the future.
From its first round, KOICA CTS has funded
10 innovators in health, rural development, energy and education, and is
looking in its future to expand its focus on health. On July 18th, 2016, KOICA CTS celebrates the
launch of its second round and, in anticipation of closer collaboration with a
growing global network of Grand Challenge partners, we celebrate this launch as
the start of the Grand Challenges Korea.
The global Grand Challenges community draws
its strength from its individual members, each of whom brings a unique approach
to fostering innovation to reduce inequalities, and, with it, brings an
opportunity to share learning in our journey towards the world where every life
has an equal chance to flourish.
We welcome our KOICA partners, and look
forward to our shared journey.
1. CIA Factbook,
2. OECD: Society at a Glance 2009; OECD
Social Indicators; 2009.
3. Korea Official Development Assistance,
4. KOICA CTS Program, http://koica-cts.com/
Grand Challenges, Grand Challenges Africa, Grand Challenges Canada (GCC), Grand Challenges China, Grand Challenges Explorations (GCE), Grand Challenges India, Grand Challenges Korea, Grand Challenges South Africa, Grand Challenges Thailand, Partnership, USAID