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At the IDB, we believe that together we can go farther. Our partnership network is making positive differences in Latin America and the Caribbean every day, and this blog is our channel for telling that story. Stay tuned for literature on partnership perspectives, stories from the field, changing trends, outlooks for development and the region, information on ways and opportunities to partner, and more. Thanks for stopping by.

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The Road to Korea: Putting the “Trust” in Partnership

By - Aug 21 2014

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An old saying in Korea holds that “once a friend, always a friend.” This saying resonates in the partnership between the government of Korea and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), and the near decade of joint efforts that unite them in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC).

This friendship started back in 2005, when Korea joined the IDB Group and subsequently achieved a milestone in Korea’s deepening ties with the region.  Since this time, nearly a decade ago, what has the resulting partnership accomplished? Contributions through both the IDB’s Ordinary Capital and commitments to the IDB Group equaling US$200 million have been felt far and wide, sure, touching many Bank divisions, member countries, and communities across the region. But the true answer to this question can’t merely be summed up in a figure, as ten years of partnership, persistence, and progress in the name of LAC require much more than one blog post to cover. Thus today, as we start traveling the road to Busan, the beautiful Koran port city that will host the IDB’s 2015 Annual Meeting, let’s begin by looking back at the trust that made this partnership a successful one.

Knowledge, private sector growth, technology, and innovation, oh my! This list seems to run the gamut of development buzzwords, but is there a common denominator that links them? Yes, and that is that the Korea-IDB partnership has prioritized them all, and successfully so. Korea has worked to promote these concepts in LAC by working through Korean-created, IDB-run trust funds. Titled the Korea Poverty Reduction Fund (KPR), the Knowledge Partnership Korea Fund for Technology and Innovation (KPK) and the Korea-IIC SME Development Trust Fund, these funds have played a crucial role in defining the partnership between Korea and the region, financing US$67 million for 205 technical cooperation operations for the region by the end of May 2014.

But what makes these trust funds so significant, aside from the sheer amount of development financing they provide, is how Korea uses them to pioneer initiatives and encourage innovation the region-over. Among the aforementioned 205 operations, Korea’s trust funds served as catalysts for cutting edge initiatives, facilitating the launch of the Bank’s broadband platform, Emerging and Sustainable Cities Initiative, and Sports for Development program. Now landmark IDB programs that speak to the importance of out-of-the-box approaches to development challenges, it was Korean belief in the power of new ideas, and the trust it took to finance them, that turned them from ideas into reality.

However, though Korea-IDB Trust Funds have contributed to accelerated development in the region, they are only one element of an increasingly multi-faceted trans-Pacific relationship. Join us as we travel the road to Busan to learn more about the deepening ties between Korea and LAC, to see firsthand the evolution of a strong partnership, and to witness the innovations that will be born of this collaboration in the years to come.

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