As an emerging donor of Official Development Assistance (ODA), the South Korean government has announced that it will provide a 'South Korean Model of Development Cooperation'. This paper explores how the South Korean development experience from the twentieth century can be transformed into an alternative for development cooperation in the twenty-first century. The early aid management system in South Korea contributed to the bureaucratic capacity-building that was necessary for the installation of the developmental state. In its quest for industrialization, the authoritarian developmental state in South Korea maintained autonomy vis-à-vis foreign donors, foretelling the 'country ownership' principle in today's global norms of ODA. However instructive the South Korean experience may be, it will not work as a 'one size fits all' model for the twenty-first century development due to such fundamental changes in the global political economy as the WTO regime and democracy promotion. In this regard, South Korea's own double transition of economic liberalization and democratization offers another important lesson. Therefore, we suggest a South Korean 'alternative' that respects both the global norms for development cooperation and the national democratic aspirations. It would be a democratic developmental state whose autonomy is more deeply embedded in civil society and whose capacity further expands human capabilities.
- Democratic developmental state
- country ownership
- development cooperation
- foreign aid