South Korea to boost economic ties with Africa

Oct 28, 2008 01:00 AM

South Korea will promote closer economic ties with African nations by providing its know-how in economic progress and initiating a number of development projects in the resource-rich continent.
In return, it is seeking to secure oil and other key natural resources to fuel its future growth amid intensifying competition with resource hungry China and other developing economies.

At a biennial meeting called the "Korea Africa Cooperation Conference'' (KOAFEC), Strategy and Finance Minister Kang Man-soo told economic ministers and other delegates from 21 African nations that Korea will expand economic cooperation with the continent in the areas of infrastructure development, energy and information technologies.
"We will also make an all-out effort to help African nations become sustainable economic states. We will share our experience in economic planning and advancement over the past 60 years with you,'' Kang said at the Shilla Hotel in downtown Seoul.

The gathering has become a key channel for both sides to share knowledge related to economic development. Under the theme "Fostering Synergies between Korea and Africa,'' participants in this year's conference, adopted a joint declaration, called the "2008 KOAFEC Seoul Initiative,'' in which they outlined the vision and direction of economic cooperation between the two sides.
They also adopted action plans addressing potential areas of cooperation in infrastructure, natural resources development, agricultural and rural development and green growth partnership.

Having close ties with Africa has become more important than ever to South Korea as it imports most of its energy needs from abroad amid soaring oil and other commodity prices over the past year. Among other agreements, Korea will inject an additional $ 20 mm into a KOAFEC Trust Fund initially capitalized at $ 5 mm to expand economic cooperation with African nations.
It will also push forward 29 development projects in infrastructure construction and natural resources exploration across Africa, totalling $ 760 mm, through Korea's Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF).

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