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211214 Business people and experts in Korea, Africa discuss cooperation [The Korea Times]

관리자 / 2021-12-14 오전 11:22:00 / 112

By Lee Hyo-jin

Businesspeople and experts from various fields in Korea and African countries discussed ways to boost economic, cultural and academic cooperation in a series of forums hosted by the Korea-Africa Foundation (KAF).

The KAF is an affiliate of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that aims to promote partnerships with African countries.

As a part of its efforts, the foundation held the Korea-Africa Business Forum on Dec. 9, followed by the Seoul Dialogue on Africa (SDA), Dec. 10, attended by experts, government representatives, academics and participants from the private sector. The forums were held in a hybrid online-offline format with the speakers from Africa participating online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The business forum provided participants with an understanding of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), a trade pact that commenced Jan. 1, as well as information on the changing market situation in African countries.

The forum kicked off with an opening speech by Lyeo Woon-ki, president of the KAF, who said, "The African continent is a young continent with high potential, shown by the growing number of investments for startup companies there, despite the coronavirus pandemic.

"I hope this forum will serve as an opportunity for policymakers and businesspeople to come up with new strategies for economic ties between Korea and African countries in the rapidly changing international environment," he added.


It was followed by a welcome speech by Choi Jong-moon, the second vice minister of foreign affairs, who emphasized the need to strengthen Korea-Africa cooperation in various fields, including climate change and the healthcare sector in overcoming the COVID-19 crisis.

Albert M. Muchanga, the African Union commissioner for economic development, trade, industry and mining, noted that the implementation of the AfCFTA should lead to the promotion of investment in African countries, which should accelerate cooperation in many areas, including inter-Africa trade, along with global trade with other countries.

The SDA, which aims to facilitate the strategic partnership between the two sides, was held under the theme, "Rethinking Solidarity: Korea-Africa Partnership in the Interconnectivity Era." It was the fourth such event since the program was launched in 2018.

The opening ceremony was attended by prominent figures, including Ban Ki-moon, former U.N. secretary-general and chairman of the Ban Ki-moon Foundation for a Better Future, First Vice Foreign Minister Choi Jong-kun, Ambassador of Gabon to Korea Carlos Victor Boungou and Rep. Shin Hyung-young of the ruling Democratic Party of Korea.

In his opening remarks, KAF President Lyeo said, "I hope this event will serve as a useful forum in discussing ways to respond jointly to common challenges facing Korea and Africa."

This was followed by a keynote speech by Ban, who said, "Global interdependence is increasing in various fields including healthcare, environment, security and trade. We should put more efforts into tackling these problems through multilateral cooperation between Korea and African countries."