Korea has shown impressive economic progress over the last 50 years with gross national income (GNI) rising from US$2.98 billion in 1962 to US$966.6 billion in 2009, ranking it the 13th largest economy in the world (World Development Indicators). In November 2009 the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Oh Joon said, “Half a century ago, Korea was one of the poorest nations in the world, endeavouring to emerge from the ashes of the Korean War to rebuild itself” (OECD DAC). Korea’s development and transition from aid recipient to aid donor has taken place in a relatively short period of time, and its economic growth has enabled its aid budget to increase from US$100.3 million in 1995 to US$816 million in 2009.
On 1 January 2010, Korea became the 24th member of the Organisaton for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)’s Development Assistant Committee (DAC). During a special session in November 2009 the OECD DAC unanimously appointed Korea as a member on the grounds that it has successfully transformed from “an emerging donor to an advanced donor”, with increased official development assistance (ODA) volumes, coherent aid strategies, and an aid system developed in line with OECD DAC principles. In 2008 the OECD DAC conducted a Special Review of the Republic of Korea’s Development Cooperation citing recommendations for future aid policy, systems and coordination.