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[Africa Forum] Korea, Africa could be next key players in supply chain: K-SURE chief

May 26, 2024 - 16:00 By Park Han-na
Korea Trade Insurance Corporation Chairman and President Jang Young-jin gives a keynote address at the Africa Day Business Forum held in Seoul on Thursday. (Im Se-jun/The Korea Herald)

The head of Korea Trade Insurance Corporation, the state-run export credit agency, vowed to support Korea and African nations in becoming key pillars of the future supply chain.

“Africa is home to essential mineral resources critical to future high-tech industries such as semiconductors and secondary batteries,” Jang Young-jin, chairperson and president of K-SURE in his keynote speech during the Africa Day Business Forum co-hosted by The Korea Herald and the African Group of Ambassadors in Seoul on Thursday.

K-SURE aims to contribute to the formation of a future-oriented partnership between Korea and Africa by providing a financial foundation where Africa’s potential and the technical prowess of Korean enterprises can converge.

“Through trade insurance support, K-SURE will facilitate the inflow of Korean technologies and global financial capital into Africa,” he said during the first part of the event -- Africa Day Business Forum.

Quoting an African proverb saying, “A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor,” Jang said there will be challenges on the path where Korea and Africa advance together. “However, I am confident that if we combine our respective strengths to overcome these challenges, Korea and Africa will rise as central pillars of the future global economy.”

Jang took note of the growing willingness for cooperation between Korea and Africa.

For the first time, Korea will be hosting the leaders of African nations at the Korea-Africa Summit 2024 in June, after a series of state visits by leaders of Angola, Nigeria and Kenya in recent years.

The trade volume between Korea and Africa has grown from $900 million in 1988 to $16.6 billion in 2023, marking an approximately 19-fold increase. During the same period, the scale of foreign direct investment has also surged nearly 60 times.

“Notably, large-scale projects supported by K-SURE, such as the Floating Liquefied Natural Gas facility in Mozambique, and the Sonangol Drillship Project in Angola in 2016, symbolize this robust economic cooperation,” he said.

Jang said the agency will underpin Africa’s economic growth by aiding in the development of its infrastructure.

“With rapid growth and urbanization underway in Africa, the demand for infrastructure services such as electricity, water and sewage, and roads will continue to rise,” he said.

K-SURE has supported numerous infrastructure projects in Africa, including the Tanzania Railway construction in 2022, and the Algeria Electronic Customs System establishment in 2019.

“Leveraging these experience and expertise, we will continue to provide backing for Africa’s growth,” he said.

He also promised to continue to cooperate with other export credit agencies, as well as multilateral development banks with regional expertise, such as the African Development Bank and the African Export-Import Bank.