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(LEAD) S. Korea to give US$500 mln in aid to poor countries

All News 15:03 February 29, 2016

(ATTN: RECASTS throughout with details; ADDS photo; CHANGES headline; TRIMS)

SEOUL, Feb. 29 (Yonhap) -- South Korea on Monday announced its plan to extend US$500 million in aid to developing countries by 2020 to meet its obligations to the international community.

Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn said in a meeting that South Korea should push forward with an official development assistance program as a "priority since the international community has very high expectation about our contribution."

Hwang made the comments as his office finalized the size of Seoul's official development assistance program.

Of the budget, $200 million will be allocated by 2020 to the "Better Life for Girls" initiative unveiled by President Park Geun-hye during her meeting at the U.N. summit for sustainable development last year.

The project aims to tackle gender inequality in education and help girls in seven developing countries unlock their full potential. The countries are Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia, Nepal, Ethiopia, Tanzania, and Mozambique.

Also, the Seoul government aims to strengthen health service for girls, as well as vocational training for young female students.

Another $200 million will be spent on six countries -- Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Nepal, Ethiopia, Columbia, and Peru -- to assist in developing their scientific skills.

Seoul said it will also allocate $100 million to five countries to combat infectious diseases, in line with Park's pledge of "Safe Life for All" made at a Seoul meeting of the Global Health Security Agenda in September, 2015.

The assistance will be focused on helping the countries increase their capability to fight infectious diseases and cooperating with international health authorities to distribute vaccines.

The government said it also plans to provide $10 million to six African countries over the next five years for vocational training in line with the "Better Education for Africa's Rise" initiative.


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