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[AFRICA FORUM] Herald forum ‘helps unlock potential’ for Korea-Africa partnership

May 26, 2024 - 18:17 By Kim Arin
Yu Yong-weon (left) and Kim Gunn, the ruling People Power Party lawmakers-elect, attend the 2024 Korea-Africa summit co-hosted by The Korea Herald and the African Group of Ambassadors in Korea on Thursday at a venue in Seoul. (Kim Arin/The Korea Herald)

South Korea and Africa, whose partnership is anticipated to reach another milestone with the 2024 Korea-Africa summit, have a lot to gain from one another, ruling party lawmakers-elect Kim Gunn and Yu Yong-weon say.

The two foreign relations and security experts, elected in the April general election, were among top experts, government officials and members of the diplomatic community to attend the Africa Day 2024 Korea Business Forum on Thursday.

The forum, co-hosted by The Korea Herald and African embassies in Seoul, was held ahead of the first Korea-Africa summit slated for early June.

Kim, who served as Seoul’s top nuclear envoy up until his election, said that The Korea Herald forum was “expected to help unlock potential for South Korea and Africa to deepen their partnership.”

“We have made significant diplomacy diversification efforts focusing on Africa over the years, but we don’t seem to have gained such recognition in the international community yet,” he said, referring to South Korea’s exclusion in the Group of Seven summit in June.

South Korea was not invited to the upcoming summit of G7, the group of most industrialized economies, being hosted by Italy with African development as one of the core items in the discussions.

In the upcoming Korea-Africa summit, Kim said he believed “important progress could be made for South Korea to win recognition as a ‘global pivotal state.’”

Speaking to The Korea Herald, Yu underscored African economies’ potential as a partner in the defense industry.

“South Korea is in the spotlight right now for our arms exports, and Africa remains an uncharted, untapped market,” he said. “In that respect, Africa could be a great partner for us in weapons trade, and in exchange we could offer our defense science and technologies that could be of benefit to many countries there.”

Yu said he hopes the forum will “open up more opportunities for cooperation with African countries in defense and security sectors.”