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Trade Minister attends Korea-Africa Trade & Industry Cooperation Forum 2023 2023-03-22

Minister for Trade Dukgeun Ahn attended the Korea-Africa Trade and Industry Cooperation Forum 2023 (hereinafter “Forum”) on March 20 at the Plaza Hotel Seoul, hosted by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) and organized by the Korea Plant Industries Association (KOPIA).

The Forum was held to seek measures to expand Korea-Africa trade and investment in response to a new trade environment, and have representatives of the Government, institutions and companies gathered in one venue to discuss strategic industries and supply chain cooperation between Korea and African nations.

The Forum was attended by approximately 110 persons, including KOPIA Chairman Kim Chang-hag as well as Gabonese Ambassador to Korea Carlos Victor Boungou, one of the Ambassador-level representatives for the 15 African nations.

In his opening message, Trade Minister Ahn referred to Africa as the world’s final growth engine that is growing out of an industrial structure dependent on raw materials and noted its recent launching of the world’ largest free trade area, African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), and stated that Africa holds great potential for cooperation with Korea.

Kore and Africa have maintained over 60 years of friendly relations and cooperation in numerous industries like infrastructure, energy, shipbuilding and electronics. Bilateral trade has increased more than fifteen-fold from initial trade value of USD 1.6 billion of 35 years prior, which now reaches $29 billion.

Taking opportunity of the Korea-Africa special summit meeting slated for 2024, the four following trade and industry cooperation measures have been proposed for accelerating investment and expanding trade.

1)Enter Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with African nations to establish a mutually beneficial trade solidarity network that incorporates new trade cooperation elements like supply chain, climate change and healthcare.

2)Establish Trade and Investment Promotion Framework (TIPF) with African nations to install and activate an economic cooperation platform, while accelerating trade investment and supporting Korean companies operating in Africa.

3)Push for official development assistance (ODA) in industry and energy such as TASK (Technical Advice and Solutions from Korea) for African nations to lay the foundation for the 2nd and 3rd industrial development.

4)Addressing the need for a major transition in the face of climate change, digital gap and other complex crises, Korea proposed that it can present solutions to humanity’s shared challenges at the World Expo 2030 Busan and requested African nations’ support for Korea’s bid to host the Expo, and offered to share Korea’s last half-century of technology and development experience in advancing into the developed nations tier.

MOTIE will strengthen communication with the African governments on occasion of this Forum, while working closely with relevant institutes to draw up Korea-Africa trade and industry cooperation measures and assist Korean companies operating in Africa.