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Supervisor Elham AbolFateh
Editor in Chief Mohamed Wadie

Korea-Africa Summit: A New Era of Cooperation


Sun 02 Jun 2024 | 11:55 AM
By Ahmad El-Assasy

The upcoming Korea-Africa Summit in Seoul, with representatives from 48 African nations, marks a pivotal moment in Korea-Africa relations. 

Led by President Yoon Suk Yeol, this summit, scheduled for June 4-5, underscores a historical bond and a forward-looking partnership aimed at mutual growth.

The roots of Korea-Africa relations trace back to the Korean War in the 1950s when African nations extended crucial support to Korea. 

Ethiopia’s Royal Guards, South Africa’s air force squadrons, and the support from Liberia, Egypt, and Moroccan soldiers were instrumental in Korea’s survival. These acts of solidarity laid the foundation for enduring diplomatic ties.

Since establishing relations with six African nations in the 1960s, Korea has strengthened its engagement with Africa. 

Milestones like Korea’s entry into the United Nations and the establishment of the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) in 1991 underscored Korea’s commitment to strong diplomatic and economic relationships with African countries.

The 1988 Seoul Olympics catalyzed cultural and political exchanges, while the end of the Cold War allowed Korea to expand its diplomatic footprint in Africa. 

The launch of the African Union (AU) in 2002, followed by Korea attaining AU observer status in 2005, facilitated substantial collaborations.

In 2006, Korea’s Initiative for Africa’s Development and the Korea-Africa Economic Cooperation (KOAFEC) Ministerial Conference established key cooperation platforms. These initiatives highlighted Korea’s dedication to sharing its developmental experiences and fostering mutually beneficial partnerships.

National initiatives, such as the “Africa New Era Forum” in 2013 and the “Blueprint for Comprehensive Cooperation with Africa” in 2016, laid the groundwork for comprehensive cooperation in various fields. 

The establishment of the Korea-Africa Foundation in 2018 further facilitated private-level exchanges, emphasizing trade, investment, infrastructure, and digital technologies.

The upcoming summit, the largest multilateral event since President Yoon’s inauguration, signifies a new era of collaboration. The participation of 48 African nations, including 25 heads of state, underscores its importance. 

The 2024 Korea-Africa Business Summit, hosted by the Korean Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy, aims to enhance economic partnerships.

In conclusion, the Korea-Africa Summit is a celebration of historical bonds and a commitment to a shared future. By focusing on areas such as e-government, technology, minerals, energy, and infrastructure, Korea and Africa can pave the way for a prosperous, collaborative future.