Overseas plant orders won by South Korean companies jumped more than 40 percent in the first quarter of this year thanks to robust demand from the Middle East and Africa, a government report showed Monday. South Korean builders received 16.8 billion U.S. dollars in industrial plant orders during the January-March period, up 42.1 percent from the same period of last year, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy. Among the total, orders from the Middle East and Africa accounted for 51.9 percent and 30.5 percent respectively, leading the first-quarter jump. Orders from the Mideast region almost quadrupled to 8.72 billion dollars in the first quarter from a year earlier, with those from Africa surging more than 3,900 times to 5.12 billion dollars in the quarter. Those from Asia and Europe reduced 64.3 percent and 98.1 percent each during the quarter, offsetting gains in those from Africa and the Middle East. By facility type, orders for oil and gas processing facilities took up 51.9 percent of the total, with those for power and desalination plants accounting for 25.5 percent. The ministry said it will make all-out efforts to achieve this year's target for overseas plant orders worth 70 billion dollars for the first time, noting outlook for the sector was bright given the global recovery and its subsequent demand for energy.