SEOUL, March 19 (Yonhap) — South Korea said Friday it has agreed to expand a joint loan facility program with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) in a bid to support infrastructure development in Latin America.

The finance ministry and the IDB signed a letter of intent to extend the cooperative loan program between the Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF), the country’s lower-interest loan scheme with emerging countries, and the regional development bank, according to the Ministry of Economy and Finance.

The agreement will expand the EDCF-IDB lending facility to US$500 million from the $300 million designed for 2018-2022. It will also provide support to projects pursued by private companies.

The EDCF-IDB loan facility allows South Korea and Central and South American countries to jointly develop infrastructure projects in the region and share operating costs.

South Korea launched the EDCF program in 1987 in an effort to help other developing countries with their basic infrastructure facilities.

“We hope that the lending program will help support Central and South American countries struggling to cope with the pandemic,” First Vice Finance Minister Kim Yong-beom said at an online signing ceremony.

This photo, provided by the Ministry of Economy and Finance on March 19, 2021, shows South Korea’s First Vice Finance Minister Kim Yong-beom attending an online signing ceremony to expand the country’s loan program with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)