On the success and failure of North Korean development aid in Africa

This paper by Tycho van der Hoog explores the largely unknown history of North Korean development aid in Africa. In the second half of the twentieth century, Pyongyang was an important partner for recently liberated African countries and actively using development aid as a tool for its foreign policy, the ultimate aim being to gain international recognition. Development aid is an ideal window for viewing the nexus between ideology and economy in North Korea, given that the two were intertwined in establishing agricultural projects on foreign soil. Using novel primary sources from South Korean, European, and African archives, this paper argues that North Korean development aid may have been a diplomatic success but failed in practice.

Read the full article.


This paper appeared in 'Ideology and Economic Policy in North Korea', NKEF Policy and Reseach Paper Series (2022).

Author(s) / editor(s)

Tycho van der Hoog

About the author(s) / editor(s)

Tycho van der Hoog is a PhD candidate at the African Studies Centre Leiden. His PhD project, tentatively titled ‘Blood, Bullets, and Bronze: The Relations Between North Korean and Southern Africa, 1960-2020’ seeks to reveal the ties that bind North Korea to the African continent.

Full text, catalogue, and publisher website