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Korea Joins Inter-American Development Bank
November 24, 2004
Korea has become the 47th member of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the Ministry of Finance and Economy said in a statement on November 19. It is the second Asian nation to join the international bank after Japan obtained its bank membership in 1977.
"After 25 years of efforts, we are happy to announce our joining of the IDB," Finance and Economy Minister Lee Hun-jai said at a news briefing. "It will enable Korea to enter the world's second largest procurement market financed by the bank, which is estimated at up to $14 billion," he added. The IDB membership comes with the memberships for the bank's two sister institutions: Inter-American Investment Corporation and the Multilateral Investment Fund. Korea will attend the IDB annual meeting as a full member for the first time in May next year in Okinawa, Japan.
In return for its bank membership, Korea agreed to make a special donation of $200 million to the bank in multiple payments over the next six to 10 years, the ministry said. It is customary to make such a special contribution, which will be used to reduce poverty and support technology innovation in South and Central America, it added.
Korea now belongs to five major international development financial institutions, including the IDB, International Bank for Restructuring and Development, the Asian Development Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the African Development Bank.
The IDB, the oldest and largest regional multilateral development institution, was established in 1959 to help accelerate economic and social development in Latin America and the Caribbean. The IDB is now owned by 47 member countries, of which 26 are borrowing countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. Initially a partnership between 19 Latin American countries and the United States, the bank over several decades expanded its membership to the English-speaking Caribbean countries, Canada and Suriname in the Western Hemisphere, and to 16 European countries, Israel, Japan and Korea.