1. On December 9, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea, together with the Korea-Africa Foundation, African Union, Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and Africa Development Bank, held the 2021 Korea-Africa Business Forum under the theme of “Integrated Africa, New Era for Transformative Partnership.”
° The Forum was supposed to be held as part of the 5th Korea-Africa Forum. However, as the 5th Korea-Africa Forum was delayed due to concerns over the spread of the Omicron variant, this Forum was held in a hybrid format with online participation of overseas speakers.
2. Choi Jongmoon, 2nd Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea, stressed in his welcoming remarks that Korea and Africa should explore new cooperation fields for the post-COVID-19 era, such as public health, economy and climate change and upgrade the current Korea-Africa relations to reflect the changed international status of the two sides in the international arena.
° Vice Minister Choi mentioned that, with the full implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which has the most member states since the establishment of the World Trade Organization (WTO), the economic cooperation between Korea and Africa may expand to the fields of manufacturing and infrastructure which are Korea’s economic strengths.
3. Prominent figures participated in the Forum’s opening session as speakers, including Lyeo Woon-ki, President of the Korea-Africa Foundation; Albert M. Muchanga, African Union Commissioner for Economic Development, Trade, Industry, Mining; Woo Taehee, Executive Vice Chairman of the Korea Chamber of Commerce & Industry; and Khaled Sherif, Vice President for Regional Development, Integration and Business Delivery at the African Development Bank.
° During the session, speakers stated that the economic cooperation between Korea and Africa is expected to increase as Africa would take a key role in the world economy after the implementation of the AfCFTA as it forms a single market with both a population of 1.3 billion and $3.4 trillion GDP.
4. The speakers, including Wamkele Mene, Secretary General of AfCFTA Secretariat, and Koffi Klousseh, Managing Director of Head of Project Development at Africa 50*, discussed the importance of the AfCFTA, economic integration of Africa, and Africa’s potential of value creation for natural resources via infrastructure investment. They also explored ways to extend the economic cooperation between Korea and Africa with Korea’s entrepreneurs.
*(Africa 50) Infrastructure investment platform, which is founded by the African Development Bank(AfDB), to enhance the access to infrastructure development projects at the continental level in Africa.
5. The Forum provided an opportunity to explore various strategies for Korea’s economic organizations’ and companies’ business in Africa and to understand the current trends of infrastructure industry, the main economic cooperation area between Korea and Africa.