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Linking Korea’s Development to Africa

15 August 2019

Korea‘s (ROK) investment on the African continent is just 2% of its global total, said Deputy Speaker of the Korean National Assembly, Mr Lee Ju Young.  He was speaking to The Diplomatic Society while leading a delegation of senior Korean parliamentarians and experienced politicians, to engage in comprehensive discussions with South African business and government, to identify opportunities for trade, tourism and investment to overcome challenges to fast track and increase existing current cooperation and interactions.

Photo: Mr Kirtan Bhana, founding editor of The Diplomatic Society interviewing Mr Lee Ju YoungDeputy Speaker of the Korean National Assembly

Lee, a member the Liberty Korea Party, was accompanied by Mr Kim Sung chan of the Liberty Korea Party and former Chief of Naval Operations, Mr Lee Dong sup, of the Baruen Future Party and Taekwondo Grand Master and Mr Oh Jae sae of the Democratic Party (Minjoo), the current majority party in the National Assembly under the leadership of Moon Jae-in, the current President of Korea.

Photo: (l-r) Mr Park Jong Dae, Ambassador of Korea, and members of the delegation Mr Kim Sung chan, Mr Lee Ju young, Mr Oh Jae sae and Mr Lee Dong sup forming the heart emoji with their thumb and forefinger for 'I love Korea' 'I love South Africa'

This high level delegation follows shortly after the recent visit by Korea’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr Kang Kyung-wha to South Africa. Her visit focused on a strategic conference with the 20 Korean heads of mission that are represented in 20 African countries.

“I have been in South Africa twice, and have visited 22 African countries,” said Deputy Speaker Lee who has been elected to serve for a fifth successive term and is also Chair of the Korea Africa Parliamentry Diplomacy Forum. “The perceptions of Africa are changing in Korea,” explains Lee. “They are motivated by the stabilizing politics and the exponential economic growth being experienced in some African countries. Furthermore, the Korean government is considering tax concessions for Korean investments in Africa as added incentive.”

The delegation met with Ms Judy Nwokedi of the Black Business Council in South Africa where they were briefed on the status of the business environment and the possibilities of partnerships and joint venture possibilities in the energy sector, including nuclear and engineering among others.

 

Photo: Dr Kang Kyung-wha, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Korea pictured with Korean heads of mission that are represented in 20 African countries

Lee’s discussion with South African Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ms Naledi Pandor focused on the Ocean economy, its bounty, challenges and management. South Africa has a 3000km long coastline and is the most industrialised country on the African continent.  South Africa has 18 ports and harbours of various capacities and significance, dotted along its sea front. Durban harbour, on the Indian Ocean is the busiest on the Continent. Richards Bay, 200kms to the north of Durban handles the bulk of the mineral resources, while the ports of East London and Port Elizabeth service the needs of the well-established motor vehicle manufacturing sector.

Korean manufactured and branded electronic goods have become renowned the world over and are ranked among the best in the world. Industrialisation has led to massive investment in motor manufacturing, infrastructure and design. It is a world leader in shipbuilding and marine engineering.

It seems that Korean Ambassador to South Africa, Mr Park Jong Dae’s seminal book 'Re inventing Africa’s Development, Linking Korea’s Development to Africa' is sparking a renewed interest in Africa through detailing Korea’s remarkable development in his book in which he also shares his personal experience of this continent that he has a great affinity with. He recalls how Africa was more developed than Korea when he first arrived in Kampala, Uganda. It was his desire to understand what happened to Africa’s development which seems to have stagnated and even reversed in some instances comparing it to Korea which has grown to the world’s tenth largest economy after being ravaged by war and poverty, and how its development model can serve as an example in Africa.  

There are around 4000 Korean nationals living in South Africa and Deputy Speaker Lee met with some of his compatriots in Cape Town. The discussions centred around the establishment of a Korean Cultural Centre and the growing interest in the Korean marshal art of Taekwondo. K-Pop, Korean Popular music culture has become a phenomenon the world over with a rapidly increasing youthful fan base in South Africa.

Cape Town has often been described as one of the world’s most beautiful cities and a sought after tourist destination. Its abundant natural beauty which has a combination of picturesque mountain landscape and breath-taking sea views is certainly a key attraction for Korean visitors to experience the wonders South Africa has to offer.

 


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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September/October 2019

 
 
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