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Supervisor Elham AbolFateh
Editor in Chief Mohamed Wadie

African Countries Invited to Attend S. Korea-Africa Summit


Sun 02 Jun 2024 | 06:33 PM
File photo
File photo
Nada Mustafa

For the first time since the Korean government was founded, South Korea will be inviting the leaders of African nations to the 2024 Korea-Africa Summit, which will be held between June 4-5 in Ilsan and Seoul.

The Summit brings to fruition the strong mutual determination between Korea and Africa to elevate their existing cooperation to a higher level.

 The Summit will be held under the theme of "The Future We Make Together: Shared Growth, Sustainability, and Solidarity."

At a time when the influence of the 'Global South' has never been greater, partnering with Africa, whose strategic importance is on the rise, is not a matter of choice but of necessity.

 In particular, Africa is a key partner for Korea in realizing its foreign policy aspiration of becoming a 'Global Pivotal State.' In this respect, there is considerable international attention being directed toward the Summit.

More so than any other continent, Africa has the youngest population and the greatest untapped potential. 

It has been maintaining strong economic growth rates and possesses abundant reserves of critical minerals essential for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. 

The launch of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) further underscores its emergence as a vast single market with a population of 1.4 billion and a combined GDP of 3.4 trillion US dollars. 

During the Summit, Korea will seek pathways towards shared growth with Africa, a driving force of global economic growth.

Tackling global challenges such as responding to climate change, ensuring food security, supply chain stability, and health security, calls for our collective strength and solidarity.

 At the Summit, Korea will discuss solutions together with Africa, a valued partner in fashioning responses to global challenges, with a view to facilitating sustainable development.

Africa is advancing a wide range of peace initiatives to fulfill the African Union(AU)'s vision of an integrated, prosperous, and peaceful continent, and is also speaking with one voice on the international stage.

 The Summit will be a significant catalyst for Korea, a peace-loving and responsible member of the international community, to participate in Africa's proactive efforts to embed peace on the continent and strengthen solidarity and cooperation with the continent on the international stage.

The relationship between Korea and Africa stands apart from Africa's relations with other countries. 

First of all, Korea has a unique historical experience that could offer valuable insights to African countries on their journey to prosperity. Korea is therefore well placed to forge special bonds as a country that can effectively inspire emulation for Africa's political democratization and economic development.

In addition, as a country with no history of having colonized other nations, Korea's outreach to Africa is in earnest. It is when Korea shares its development experience with a genuine heart, that it will be met with a readiness to cooperate.

The upcoming Korea-Africa Summit will set a milestone for both sides to tap into this sense of solidarity and shape a future of sustainable co-prosperity as genuine partners. I ask the Korean people for their interest and support for the Summit's success.

On November 23, 2022, Korea officially announced the plan to host 2024 Korea-Africa Summit, demonstrating its commitment to significantly expand cooperation with Africa. Based on Korea's vision to become a 'Global Pivotal State' and the AU's vision for Agenda 2063, Africa and Korea will work towards establishing a mutually beneficial and future-oriented strategic partnership.

Relations and Cooperation

Korea-Africa Relations

The Relationship between the Republic of Korea and Africa

The beginning of Korea-Africa relations dates back to the period of the Korean War in the 1950s. When Korea faced a difficult time during the war, African countries extended a helping hand: Ethiopia deployed its Royal Guards, South Africa dispatched air force squadrons, Liberia and Egypt offered logistical support, and young Moroccan soldiers fought for Korea as a part of a French unit. This invaluable bond later facilitated Korea's establishment of diplomatic ties with six African nations - Cote d'Ivoire, Niger, Benin, Chad, Cameroon, and the Republic of the Congo - along with the independence of African countries in the 1960s.

In the 1980s, Korea's diplomatic relations with Africa were once again brought under the limelight, which was spurred by the hosting of the 1988 Seoul Olympics. This fostered heightened cultural and political exchanges between Korea and Africa, resulting in a gradual expansion of engagement with African countries and an enhancement in the level of cooperation .

With the end of the Cold War in the 1990s, Korea significantly strengthened its diplomatic engagement in Africa. Notably, Korea's admission to the United Nations and the establishment of the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) in 1991 marked crucial milestones in bolstering Korea's diplomatic ties with Africa across the continent.

The early 2000s witnessed a burgeoning of solidarity and cohesion efforts across the African continent, culminating in the launch of the African Union (AU) in 2002. Korea attained AU observer status in 2005, which paved the way for substantive collaboration with the AU.

In 2006, through "Korea's Initiative for Africa's Development," Korea announced its commitment to share its developmental experiences with Africa. Additionally, in the same year, the Korea-Africa Economic Cooperation (KOAFEC) Ministerial Conference and the Korea-Africa Forum (KOAF) were launched in April and November, respectively, which served as key platforms for cooperation with Africa.

Nationally, Korea’s “Africa New Era Forum” in 2013 laid the foundation for parliamentary diplomacy, and “Blueprint for Comprehensive Cooperation with Africa” in 2016 set the stage for producing cooperative partnership that is mutually beneficial for both Korea and Africa. Moreover, the establishment of the Korea-Africa Foundation under the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2018 has fostered private-level exchanges. Through these efforts, Korea and Africa have been expanding their pragmatic cooperation in diverse fields, such as trade, investRelations and Cooperation

Korea-Africa Relations

The Relationship between the Republic of Korea and Africa

The beginning of Korea-Africa relations dates back to the period of the Korean War in the 1950s. When Korea faced a difficult time during the war, African countries extended a helping hand: Ethiopia deployed its Royal Guards, South Africa dispatched air force squadrons, Liberia and Egypt offered logistical support, and young Moroccan soldiers fought for Korea as a part of a French unit. This invaluable bond later facilitated Korea's establishment of diplomatic ties with six African nations - Cote d'Ivoire, Niger, Benin, Chad, Cameroon, and the Republic of the Congo - along with the independence of African countries in the 1960s.

In the 1980s, Korea's diplomatic relations with Africa were once again brought under the limelight, which was spurred by the hosting of the 1988 Seoul Olympics. This fostered heightened cultural and political exchanges between Korea and Africa, resulting in a gradual expansion of engagement with African countries and an enhancement in the level of cooperation .

With the end of the Cold War in the 1990s, Korea significantly strengthened its diplomatic engagement in Africa. Notably, Korea's admission to the United Nations and the establishment of the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) in 1991 marked crucial milestones in bolstering Korea's diplomatic ties with Africa across the continent.

The early 2000s witnessed a burgeoning of solidarity and cohesion efforts across the African continent, culminating in the launch of the African Union (AU) in 2002. Korea attained AU observer status in 2005, which paved the way for substantive collaboration with the AU.

In 2006, through "Korea's Initiative for Africa's Development," Korea announced its commitment to share its developmental experiences with Africa. Additionally, in the same year, the Korea-Africa Economic Cooperation (KOAFEC) Ministerial Conference and the Korea-Africa Forum (KOAF) were launched in April and November, respectively, which served as key platforms for cooperation with Africa.

Nationally, Korea’s “Africa New Era Forum” in 2013 laid the foundation for parliamentary diplomacy, and “Blueprint for Comprehensive Cooperation with Africa” in 2016 set the stage for producing cooperative partnership that is mutually beneficial for both Korea and Africa. Moreover, the establishment of the Korea-Africa Foundation under the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2018 has fostered private-level exchanges. Through these efforts, Korea and Africa have been expanding their pragmatic cooperation in diverse fields, such as trade, investment, infrastructure, minerals and energy, defense, e-government, and information and digital technologies.ment, infrastructure, minerals and energy, defense, e-government, and information and digital technologies.