In June last year, South Korea launched the Korea-Africa Foundation and in December hosted the “Seoul Dialogue on Africa” showing its growing interest in the continent.
The forum brought together experts on Africa from home and abroad to discuss key political, economic and social issues in the African region.
It was also to make predictions about the situation in the region for the year 2019.
During the summit, deliberations revolved around how Korea could collaborate by developing broader technical support and capacity-building.
And now, Korea is ready to step up technology transfers to Africa in partnership with the African Development Bank (AfDB).
This will bring Korea to the table where, already, China and the US have become the key players.
Officials said in Seoul said on Thursday that there was huge potential for cooperation and immense opportunities for job-creating bankable projects.
Speaking at a meeting on potential technology partnerships between Korea and Africa, representatives of Busan Metropolitan City, Busan Techno Park and Korea’s Green Technology Centre said the range of business options include agriculture, green growth, smart urban transportation management and numerous other business opportunities.
AfDB President Dr. Akinwumi Adesina says the Bank intends to “explore the creation of a strategic partnership with Korea that could lead to the creation of a Korea-Africa research and training Drone Centre that could help pave the way for Africa’s 4th Industrial Revolution.”
According to Hyung-Ju Kim, Director, Global Strategy Division, Green Technology Centre, “Korean expertise can provide a practical and pragmatic solution to a wide range of Africa’s most pressing technology needs: The African Development Bank could play a major role here: if we bring technology to the table, the Bank can identify and facilitate bankable projects that can boost technology cooperation between Africa and Korea.”
Already, South Korea is using Kenya as trading gateway to Sub-Saharan Africa and it is to build $109 million bridge for Tanzania while in 2016 North Korea security instructors were to leave Uganda for South Korea to take up the role.
With funding from the Korea-Africa Cooperation (KOAFEC) fund, AfDB in cooperation with Busan Metropolitan City and the Busan Techno Park has launched a pilot project in Tunisia.
The drone technology is meant to develop agriculture, including data collection and analysis, monitoring irrigated perimeters, aquifers, the effects of climate change, land degradation, biodiversity, filling and siltation of dams, and overall agricultural production.
Korea and AfDB intend to extend the programme to other countries and regions in Tunisia and Africa, and explore the massive market potential of industrial zones in other sectors.
Busan City’s dominance as a Smart City on the cutting of Artificial Intelligence is due to political vision, one of the largest research and development expenditures in the world and a team of 12,000 researchers and scientists.
In Africa, South Korea’s presence is felt in Rwanda through a memorandum of understanding to improve technology within the health sector.
Last year, South Korea and Tanzania made a series of customary changes that would see free visa entries to South Korea for Tanzanians with official or diplomatic passports. The agreement would spur the diplomatic relations between the two parties. Their interactions have borne fruit with either end opening their boundaries for business and investments.