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Most of developing countries are based on the primary industry like agriculture, and the majority of the poor live in rural areas. Therefore, rural development is crucial in order to alleviate poverty and hunger, and to enhance the quality of life. Korea was one of the world's most impoverished countries in the 1960s, but achieved breathtaking economic success throughout the 1970s and 1980s.
In December 1996, it joined OECD (the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development). In large part, success in tackling rural poverty made this dramatic change possible. As a result, the international community has a deep interest in the contributions Korea can make to rural development in the developing world countries. Rural development can be achieved by increasing household income and training rural work forces.  

Some essential reasons to support rural development are as follows:

① Developing countries rely on the primary industry like agriculture as a source of wealth. In this terms, increase in agricultural productivity can help raise income levels, which in turn leads to capital accumulation that can promote development of other relevant industries - so called, forward & backward linkage effects. In addition, when agricultural productivity increases, so does the level of food security, which can lessen the negative effects caused by natural disasters such as drought and flood.

② From a humanitarian perspective, it is hard to expect the success of the MDGs(Millenium Development Goals) without supporting rural areas because the majority of the poor in the developing countries live in these areas.

③ Because of uneven development and opportunities in rural areas, farmers tend to relocate into urban areas at an unprecedented rate. The influx has resulted in the serious deterioration of urban sanitation. By improving rural conditions and offering opportunities for employment and education to rural people, many urban problems can be diminished.

KOICA's rural development program can be categorized as follows:

▲ Establishment of infrastructure to improve the quality of rural life, namely road construction, clean water supply development, and amenity building such as primary schools, public sanitation facilities as well as community centers.

▲ Development of agricultural technology to increase productivity, build agricultural infrastructure, improve the irrigation and drainage systems, support the construction of distribution centers, and introduce mechanized farming.

▲ Improvement of agricultural policies and human resources for sustainable rural development by providing policy advice, building research centers, and training researchers.

By fully utilizing Korea's unique experience of poverty eradicatio, based on rural development, KOICA contributes to achieve the MDGs. Specifically, KOICA is striving to reduce absolute poverty in the world by half (Goal 1, Target 1), halve the proportion of people suffering from hunger (Goal 1, Target 2), preserve environmental resources (Goal 7, Target 9), and improve the lives of slum dwellers (Goal 7, Target 11).

A total of 24,254 million or 8.8% of KOICA's total aid was used for rural development projects. Asia and Africa were the largest beneficiaries, accounting for 53.5% and 35.1% of KOICA's total budget, respectively. The top five partners in rural development aid were Mongolia, Laos, Cambodia, Tanzania, and Senegal. Combined together, they accounted for 42.6% of the budget for rural development or 3.7% of KOICA's total budget.  
Regional Distribution of Rural Development Funding
Top 5 partner countries in the Rural Development Sectoer (Unit : US$ in thousands)
Rank Country Amount Percentage(%)
Of KOICA’s total Expenditure Of Expenditure for the Sector 
1 Mongolia
























Total 10.335



Major Projects in 2008
Agricultural Productivity Improvement Programs
- Project for Canal Construction in Phonehong District, Vientiane, Lao PDR
   (USD 1.7 million/from 2008 to 2009)
- Project for the Establishment of a Greenhouse for Vegetable Cultivation in Mongolia
   (USD 1.4 million/from 2008 to 2010)
- Project for Improving Agriculture Productivity in Dagana District, Senegal
   (USD 1.5 million/from 2007 to 2009)

Rural Development Programs for Improving Agricultural and Fisheries Market Access
- Project for the Establishment of the Agro-Processing Training Center in Zanzibar
   (USD 2.3 million/from 2008 to 2009)

Programs for Improving Rural Living Conditions
- Project for the Hlegu Township Agricultural and Rural Development Program
   (USD 2 million/from 2008 to 2010)
- Project for the Brahmanpara Upazila Integrated Community Development Project for Poverty Reduction
   (USD 3.5 million/from 2007 to 2010)
- Project for Development Program for Displaced People
   (USD 2.5 million/from 2007 to 2009)