▶주메뉴 바로가기

▶본문 바로가기

The Korea Herald
검색폼

THE INVESTOR
July 17, 2024

Economy

Korea, Africa set the stage for shared growth, sustainability

  • PUBLISHED :June 05, 2024 - 16:41
  • UPDATED :June 05, 2024 - 16:41
  • 폰트작게
  • 폰트크게
  • facebook
  • sms
  • print

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol (second from left) and Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Ghazouani (left), chairperson of the African Union, attend during the 2024 Korea-Africa Business Summit at Lotte Hotel in Seoul on Wednesday. (Yonhap)

Business leaders and government officials from South Korea and African nations gathered to fortify practical cooperation involving complementary skills and resources to enrich the decades-long friendship between countries.

Some 400 people took part in the 2024 Korea-Africa Business Summit held in Seoul on Wednesday on the sidelines of the Korea-Africa Summit attended by delegations from 48 African nations, including 25 heads of state.

Under the theme “The future we make together: Shared growth, sustainability, and solidarity,” the event served as an arena for bolstering potential business partnerships between firms from the two sides.

President Yoon Suk Yeol touted Africa’s population of over 1.4 billion, abundant reserves of natural resources, and African nations’ desire for economic development that drives their economies to move forward.

“In the face of complex global crises, mutual solidarity and cooperation have become more important than ever. As global supply chain uncertainty increases due to geopolitical risks, Africa's role is receiving great attention,” Yoon said during his keynote speech.

He said he hoped to boost resource cooperation with African nations by forging partnerships for critical minerals and through the Minerals Security Partnership, a US-led partnership to secure supply chains of critical minerals. Korea is one of 15 MSP members. None of the African countries has joined the initiative.

On Tuesday, Korea and African nations agreed to launch a bilateral dialogue on critical minerals needed for the development of future industries such as electric vehicles, batteries and renewable energy.

To increase the scale of trade and investment between the two sides, institutional frameworks between the two sides will be strengthened by signing the Economic Partnership Agreements and Trade and Investment Promotion Frameworks to support companies’ active business engagement, he said.

He expressed gratitude towards the entrepreneurial spirit of businesspeople, which has become a valuable foundation for the Korea-Africa partnership since Korea established diplomatic ties with six African countries in 1961.

Mohamed Ould Ghazouani, chair of the African Union and president of Mauritania, said Korea can be the ideal strategic partner for investments and partnerships that capitalize on Africa's vast opportunities.

“Africa looks forward to strengthening its relationship with Korea in key areas and welcomes initiatives aimed at supporting infrastructure development in Africa, promoting trade, encouraging investment, combating climate change and promoting sustainable development,” he said.

The Mauritania president selected the agricultural sector and digital economy as areas where Korean companies could seize opportunities when entering the African market.

The event consisted of four sessions on industrialization and investment revitalization, ways to increase trade and job creation, strengthening food and core mineral security, decarbonization and responding to climate change in Korea and Africa.

During his opening remarks, Yoon Jin-sik, the chair of the Korea International Trade Association, a key trade organization and the event's co-host, said Korea and Africa are facing “the optimal time to grow together through mutual cooperation.”

“In the case of the mining industry, processes have been carried out outside of Africa, but in the future, effects of synergy can be expected to expand added value within the African continent by combining Korean processing technology with African facilities,” he said.

As global demands for carbon neutrality and climate crisis response grow, Africa has the potential to lead the green hydrogen market based on its abundant renewable energy, he said. “Korea will be able to materialize sustainable development together with Africa based on its experience in power and energy investment.”

Attendees from the African side include: Cote d'Ivoire President Alassane Ouattara, Central African Republic President Faustin-Archange Touadera, Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo, Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi, Madagascar's President Andry Rajoelina, Guinea-Bissau President Umaro Sissoco Embalo.

From the Korean side, Industry Minister Ahn Duk-Geun, Hyundai Motor Group Executive Chair Chung Euisun, Lotte Group Chairman Shin Dong-bin, and Poongsan Group Chairman Ryu Jin, who doubles as the head of the Federation of Korean Industries, participated in the event.

During the two-day inaugural Korea-Africa Summit, the Korean government pledged to expand its Official Development Assistance up to $10 billion by 2030 as a catalyst for projects for cooperation with African nations. It also promised to provide $14 billion of export financing to help Korean firms boost trade and investment activities in the African market.

On the occasion of the African delegation’s visit, Korea signed 12 agreements and 34 memorandums of understanding with African nations including two MOUs on key mineral cooperation, six Trade and Investment Promotion Frameworks, three MOUs on infrastructure and mobility cooperation, and agreements on the Economic Development Cooperation Fund, which offers low-interest loans.

By Park Han-na (hnpark@heraldcorp.com)

EDITOR'S PICKS