BrandArena: Korea and Africa to raise more funds and technology for universal energy access, transform Africa into world's breadbasket

Thursday 14 September 2023

Korea and Africa to raise more funds and technology for universal energy access, transform Africa into world's breadbasket

The 7th Korea-Africa Economic Cooperation (KOAFEC) Ministerial Conference began on Wednesday in Busan, Korea's second-largest city, with a forceful request for extra resources to help African countries attain universal access to energy and transform the continent into the world's breadbasket.

The meeting is taking place at a time when Africa is confronted with numerous issues. Almost 600 million people on the continent do not have access to power. Furthermore, despite significant expansion across the continent, hunger remains widespread in some nations, affecting 283 million people. The war between Russia and Ukraine has increased this figure. So also has the lingering effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and climate change.

This is why Korea and African nations, under the aegis of KOAFEC, have agreed to deepen their cooperation with much more emphasis on mutually beneficial investment.

The African Development Bank Group and the Ministry of Economy and Finance of the Republic of Korea are co-hosting the three-day conference under the theme “Embracing a Sustainable Future: Just Energy Transition and Agricultural Transformation in Africa.” This embraces these two critical development priorities for Africa.

Korea’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Finance, Kyungho Choo, underlined the crucial role that Korea and Africa must play. He highlighted Korea’s strength in high-tech industry and innovative technology. He also pointed to the great many opportunities that Africa offered as the world’s future market and industrial base with a vibrant young population.

“Together, our two worlds can become the most solid rock of solidarity,” he told the meeting, stressing the need for Africa and Korea to strengthen cooperation.

In his opening remarks, African Development Bank Group President Akinwumi Adesina urged delegates to seize the conference as a critical opportunity to galvanise support for several objectives: achieving universal energy access in Africa, advancing a just energy transition and transforming the African continent into the breadbasket of the world.“Doing so will require additional resources,” Adesina said. He said the anticipated reallocation of the International Monetary Fund Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) to the African Development Bank was the key to attracting additional resources to develop Africa.

The African Development Bank chief urged Korea to join other countries that have expressed strong interest in reallocating SDRs to the African Development Bank Group. “This will be a game changer for Africa’s development,” Adesina declared.

Choo summarised Korea’s priority areas for support to Africa as “ABC”—agriculture, bio-health, and climate change, as well as energy transition. He said Korea also planned to significantly increase its official development assistance.

Choo said that in cooperation with the African Development Bank, Korea supported energy projects for Africa’s sustainable development. “We are also working to support Africa’s growth as outlined in the African Development Bank’s High 5s development priorities,” Choo said. “As a true partner, Korea will continue to support Africa’s development,” he said.

Adesina described the KOAFEC conference as a good opportunity to discuss progress on relations between Korea and Africa, development challenges and opportunities in Africa, and a chance for all parties to continue to work together to accelerate the growth and development of Africa.

The African Development Bank has launched a $650 million rice programme to support 15 African countries in their quest to produce 53 million tons of rice by 2025.

Adesina added that the Bank would support the South African Just Energy Partnerships through a $1 billion guarantee facility from the United Kingdom, adding that the institution also supported efforts to develop more bankable projects through its New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Infrastructure Project Preparation Facility and Africa50.

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