SEOUL, Feb. 2 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korea’s overseas aid agency said Friday it will open 10 percent of senior posts to outsiders and tighten the screening of overseas projects as part of its reform programs.
The Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) announced a set of measures to overhaul its organization and operation, after it came under fire last year over African aid programs was mired in an influence-peddling scandal involving former President Park Geun-hye.
“KOICA will strive to restore public trust and to raise responsibility for selecting and evaluating ODA programs,” the agency said.
It plans to appoint outside experts to 10 percent high-level posts, including chiefs of overseas offices and chief inspection officials.
The agency will also take measures for more independent and transparent assessment and selection of official development assistance (ODA) projects. Its board of directors will review key policies and projects, and high-level officials will be subject to stricter performance assessments.
The reform plan also includes tougher punishment for sexual abuses and corruption after a sexual violence scandal broke in an overseas office last year.
KOICA runs 44 overseas offices largely in Asia, Africa and Latin America.
The reform plan was drafted by a committee of independent experts for the past two months.
The agency also plans to create a new organization for international cooperation to promote the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals of gender equality, human rights, peace, democracy, governance, the environment and climate change.
“We plan to formulate a new strategy and an organizational structure that fulfill effective development cooperation,” KOICA said.
KOICA will also create an online platform to share information on ODA programs with other government and regional organs. The platform will help raise effectiveness and coherence of aid projects currently executed by KOICA, the finance ministry and 39 other government bodies, it said.