Vice President Jessica Alupo greeting President Yoon during the Korea-Africa summit

The President of South Korea Yoon Suk Yeol has pledged to increase his country’s development aid to Africa to reach US$ 10 billion over the next six years.

President Yoon made the pledge while hosting more than 40 Heads of State and government at the recently held first-ever Korea-Africa summit held between June 4 and 6, 2024 in Seoul, South Korea.

President Yoon proposed “shared growth” as a pillar of cooperation with the continent and said the leaders agreed to expand trade and investment by establishing institutional frameworks to facilitate them.

He also pledged to offer $14 billion in export financing to promote trade and investment for South Korean companies in Africa.

President Yoweri Museveni was represented by his Vice Jessica Alupo and other senior ministers including Matia Kasaija for Finance and Henry Okello Oryem, State for international relations.

Minister Kasaija signed a loan agreement worth 500m with his counterpart Minister for foreign affairs of Korea Cho Tae-Yul

President Yoon launched the Critical Minerals Dialogue as a platform he said would help stabilize the supply of minerals through mutually beneficial and sustainable arrangements.

By reaching out with offers to help with industrial infrastructure and digital transformation, analysts say that South Korea is trying to tap into a vast and fast-growing market that is home to 1.4 billion people, the majority of whom are 25 or younger.

The hosts and their guests issued a declaration filled with optimism about ensuring a sustainable and peaceful future for both parties.

Park Jong-dae, a former South Korean ambassador to South Africa and Uganda, observed that South Korea offers a better development model than either the West or China as it focuses on human development.

Ambassador Park, according to Reuters, said: “The essence of the Korean model of development cooperation is human development, and about management, rather than about provision of assistance per se,” he said.

“Korea has the experience and know-how of development … while many African countries have immense possibilities for development based on yet to be explored, untapped resources and endowment, and dynamic young population,” he said.

In the joint declaration, the leaders emphasized their willingness to deepen the human exchanges in all areas such as trade, tourism, research and education and community engagement.

They noted this: “We express our willingness to make efforts to enhance people-to-people exchanges, sharing the view that active exchanges between the two sides contribute to increasing mutual understanding and strengthening solidarity, thereby nurturing a positive atmosphere for cooperation in all fields.

The communique adds: “To this end, we share the view that there is a call to promote high-level exchanges in all fields, including between government officials, business leaders, civil society representatives and parliamentarians, as well as exchanges in fields such as culture, arts, sports and tourism. In addition, we highlight the need to enhance mutual air connectivity and expand exchanges between local governments, universities, and research institutes of the two sides. These efforts aim to create employment opportunities for young populations and establish a foundation for fostering experts to drive future interaction and synergy between Korea and Africa. Both Korea and Africa should work together to achieve shared goals based on a respectful dialogue.
The joint declaration said the leaders recognised the instability of global supply chains, and that future industries increasingly depended on the stable supply of mineral resources.

“In this context, we agree to launch the Korea-Africa Critical Minerals Dialogue during this summit which will serve as an important institutional foundation for enhancing cooperation between Korea and Africa,” it said.

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