Korea pledges $590M support to Africa

The South Korean government has pledged more support to African countries by extending $590 million in aid and loans over the next two years..
KOICA staff during a launch of some of their ICT products in Kigali. The New Times / John Mbanda.
KOICA staff during a launch of some of their ICT products in Kigali. The New Times / John Mbanda.

The South Korean government has pledged more support to African countries by extending $590 million in aid and loans over the next two years..

The pledge was announced last week by the Korean government during the first ever ‘Korea-Africa Cooperation Week’ held in Seoul, South Korea.

The ‘Cooperation Week’ took place from October 15 to18 with the three major forums on Korea-Africa cooperation being held simultaneously for the first time.

Building infrastructure, developing natural and human resources, and supporting agriculture and green growth in the African continent will be among the major areas of cooperation.

The detailed “action plan” for cooperation was reached during the Korea Africa Economic Cooperation Conference in Seoul that was attended by dozens of finance ministers and heads of African nations and main international organizations.

Korea is the only country that has graduated from being a major aid recipient to being a major donor over the last 50 or 60 years, according to media reports.

“South Korea looks forward to strengthening its ties with African countries and expand its diplomatic horizons. Korea-Africa cooperation will contribute to enhancing partnership and sharing Korea’s development experience to Africa,” reads part of the statement from Korean Ministry of Finance.

At the end of a four-day Korea-Africa forum, the Seoul Declaration 2012 and reaction Plans 2013-2015 in the area of development cooperation, trade and investment, peace and security was adopted. 

In the 1950s, after the end of the Korean War, South Korea had a weaker economy than many newly independent sub-Saharan African countries.

Now, it is one of the world’s 15 biggest economies and has an estimated GDP per capita of $23,000.

However as the Korean government pursues its development agenda in Africa; the Asian country has a strong bilateral relations with Rwanda.

The economic relationship between Rwanda and Korea is mostly in the areas of ICT, infrastructure, education and agriculture among others.

“Rwanda is one of our priority countries in Africa that we will promote capacity building in various sectors and increase business and cultural exchanges,” said Hwang Soon-Taik, Korean Ambassador to Rwanda.

President Paul Kagame last year visited South Korea where he met Korean business men and senior government officials.

During his tour to the Asian country, Kagame delivered his keynote address at the fourth High Level Meeting on Aid effectiveness in Busan.

As part of his official activities in the country, President Kagame was hosted to a business breakfast by the Far East Broadcasting Companies. The breakfast was attended by a number of high profile political, business and opinion leaders, among them Kim Young-Sam, former President of the Republic of Korea.

Kagame also toured Samsung Electronics- Hyundai Heavy Industries and Automobile Plant and Korea Internet and Security Agency (KISA) among other prominent companies.

Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), has signed a number of cooperation agreements with Rwanda’s education sector to promote Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Programme in the country.

South Korea’s telecom giant, Korea Telecom (KT) developed Kigali Wireless broadband (Wibro) that provides high quality, affordable and reliable broadband services to homes and businesses alike to stimulate the private sector.

KT also supported the government to develop 2,500-kilometre national fibre optic cable expected to enhance access to various broadband services in the country.

KISA is set to extend its expertise in information protection technology and a Memorandum of Understanding was signed with the government mid this year to strengthen cooperation in the protection of information.

Next year in March will be the 50th Anniversary of Korea-Rwanda diplomatic relations and greater economic engagements.

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