The Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) met with the Kurdistan Regional Government in Erbil last week to sign a memorandum. The memorandum was titled “Modernization of the Public Procurement System in the Kurdistan Region, Iraq.” The directer of KOICA, Ra Kapchae, met with the Minister of Planning, Dr. Ali Sindi, to sign the document. A statement from the KRG read, “The project will consist of consulting services, development of E-procurement system, provision of IT equipment and training programs for capacity building.” A total of $6 million will be put toward the project by the government of South Korea. The plan will conclude in 2021 but is scheduled to begin some time this year.

Dr. Sindi later stated to press, “Our government started procurement reform in 2015 and now has a new procurement regulation that is in line with international standards, e-Procurement is the next stage of our reform plan and with the generous contribution of KOICA we will start implanting e-procurement later this year,” after the meeting’s conclusion. He also expressed his gratitude for Korea’s efforts toward creating a better Kurdistan.

The Republic of Korea’s Consul General, Park Young-Kyu, was also in attendance. He expressed that the Korean government acknowledges the KRG’s continued efforts towards establishing a successful and conspicuous government, to that end the Korean government wants to aid the KRG in achieving its goal. He also emphasized that virtuous service to this modern governmental system would be the primary effort of the new program.

While largely operating inauspiciously in the region, the Korean government has been supporting Kurdistan and Iraq since 2003 in a variety of economic and governmental sectors. The KRG’s efforts to digitize/modernize the government and its infrastructure has mostly been a preventative measure against corruption and excess bureaucracy.

The KRG’s director for the Department of Information Technology, Hiwa Afandi, later tweeted, “South Korea has contributed effectively and generously to the KRG’s modernization efforts. Managing director of KOICA in Kurdistan paid a visit to DIT’s IT Academy which was sponsored by KOICA in 2007. Positivity surprised how we have elevated it to the next level.”


Featured image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons