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The governors of the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) and the Inter-American Investment Corporation (IIC) have voted to approve an application by the Republic of Korea (South Korea) to become a member of both institutions.

To become effective, membership must also be approved by the Korean parliament.

Simultaneously with its entry into the IADB and the IIC, the Republic of Korea would also join the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), which is dedicated to promoting private sector growth in Latin America and the Caribbean, particularly among small and medium-sized enterprises.

When the approval process is completed, the Republic of Korea would become the bank’s 47th member and second Asian nation member. Japan joined the IADB in 1976.

As a non-borrowing IADB member South Korea will be expected to participate actively in trust funds and other financing mechanisms to support the economic and social development of Latin America and the Caribbean, particularly in the areas of technology and poverty reduction.

“The Inter-American Development Bank welcomes the application of the Republic of Korea for membership as a valuable partner of Latin America and the Caribbean in the development process, in which a global vision is becoming increasingly important for trade, growth and international cooperation,” says IADB president Enrique Iglesias. “Asia is becoming ever more important as a growth engine for the world economy. Latin America offers many of the products Asia now needs. Both regions will benefit immeasurably from a closer economic, cultural and diplomatic relationship.”