Korea starts $10 billion fund for African economies

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Korea starts $10 billion fund for African economies

The Korean government announced a $10 billion fund to strengthen economic cooperation with Africa.

“Africa, with its unlimited potential for growth, is the last continent in the world of opportunity,” Korean Finance Minister Yoo Il-ho said on Tuesday during a Korea-Africa Economic Cooperation (Koafec) ministerial conference held in Seoul.

“The $10 billion cooperation package reflects our strong desire to bring Korean and African economic cooperation to a new level,” Yoo said.

The Finance Minister said the financial package is the largest of its sort and will be customized for the different needs of every African country.

Yoo stressed Africa’s competitive pluses, including abundant natural resources, potential for renewable energy and a huge population. Korea is supporting the so-called “high fives” proposed by African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina: five priorities to transform Africa’s economies. They include innovation in the agriculture industry, improving energy supplies, speeding up industrialization, integrating the continent and improving the quality of lives.

The Korean Finance Minister also mentioned the need for the reform of Africa’s agricultural.

“The importance the agricultural industry has on Africa is exceptionally large as it contributes to economic growth, job opportunities and food supplies,” Yoo said. “There is a need to move forward from the existing production systems, which are small and fragmented. [The agriculture industry] needs to be reinvented to become a high-valued industry by adopting management methods backed by expertise.”

Yoo said that while Korea and Africa have worked on practical economic development over the past 10 years since the economic cooperative body Koafec was founded, the two countries will move on to a new level of partnership and help specific businesses.

BY LEE HO-JEONG [lee.hojeong@joongang.co.kr]
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