East Asian Technical Cooperation Initiatives in Central America: A Comparative Analysis of Japan and South Korea in Guatemala

Abstract

This article describes the similarities and differences of Japanese and South Korean technical cooperation approaches in Guatemala. The literature review illustrates the transition from an initially donor-centric results chain approach towards one that is increasingly recipient-balanced due to new cooperation principles such as horizontality and demand-drivenness. Such approaches are mainly fostered by the rise of new emerging donors on the international development cooperation horizon, such as the advocates of South-South Development Cooperation (SSDC).

An analysis based on a framework by the Network of Southern Think Tanks (NeST) concludes that Japanese and Korean technical cooperation approaches are markedly similar, most notably in regard to officially proclaimed technical cooperation standards and commitments. Differences result from the degree of related implementation: Japan achieves higher results based on relative deficiencies in reporting by Korea as well as comparatively shorter bilateral Korean-Guatemalan relations. Similarities are fostered by analogous institutional and project related structures, stemming from an argued learning and simulation approach by Korea from the long-standing experiences of Japan. Lastly, it is argued that the growing assimilation of the traditional and the SSDC concept, as well as the increasing engagement of both countries in triangular cooperation contribute to the identified similarities.

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