Korea to Strengthen Ties with Africa in Agriculture and Energy Sectors

The 7th Korea-Africa Economic Cooperation (#KOAFEC) Conference took place in Busan from 12 to 15 September 2023. Some 33 African ministers, ambassadors, heads of pan-African institutions as well as Korean policy makers and captains of industry attended the Conference.

The initial theme of the conference was “Embracing a Sustainable Future: Just #EnergyTransition and Agricultural Transformation in Africa” but the scope was later enlarged to “Beyond Partnership, Towards Co-Prosperity.”

In his welcome remarks, South Korean Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Finance CHOO Kyungho highlighted the strengths of Korea in the hitech sector which presents vast scopes for cooperation given Africa’s youthful population hungry for the latest technological innovations. Indeed, Samsung phones are extremely popular in Africa.

AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina focused his speech on driving the energy access and realizing the potential of Africa as the breadbasket of the world.

“Africa must be a solution to feeding the world, as it has 65% of the uncultivated arable land in the world.”

AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina

As part of its K-Rice Belt initiative, South Korea plans to support eight African countries to produce at least 30 million tonnes of rice. This is in line with the Africa Food Summit in Dakar earlier this year, whereby Africa declared its objective to achieve food self-sufficiency and ensure #FoodSecurity within five years.

On the energy side, the AfDB launched its New Deal on Energy for Africa in 2016 and much progress has been made since. However, a lot more needs to be done since 600 million people still do not have access to grid electricity.

“Considering Africa’s rich energy and resources, along with the opportunities it can bring during the transition toward the low-carbon era, expanding trade and exchanges will create more business opportunities and jobs. When Africa’s rich resources and young population combine with the private sector’s creativity and vitality to generate investment, it will have more potential for industrial growth and business creation than any other continent.” 

South Korean Vice Finance Minister KIM Byoung-hwan

President Adesina also stressed that the anticipated reallocation of the Special Drawing Rights (SDR) from the IMF will be a key signal and step for the economic rebound of Africa. To that regard, he thanked South Korea for its support to push for the reallocation.

During #KOAFEC23, South Korea announced a Financial Package to the tune of USD 6 billion for Africa, comprising of SUD 1.5 billion of concessionary loans from Economic Development Cooperation Fund and USD 4.3 billion of export finance from EXIM Bank of Korea.

South Korea Inks Agreement with AfDB to Replenish Korea-Africa Economic Cooperation Trust Fund

According to estimates by the AfDB, in order for Africa to reach the SDG, at least USD 2.3 trillion of investment is needed.