South Korea has agreed to use Kenya as its trading gateway to Sub-saharan Africa and pledged to work closely with the government to implement the Big Four Agenda.
This was revealed on Friday when President Uhuru Kenyatta and the Prime Minister of the Republic of South Korea Lee Nak-Yeon held talks to enhance Korea’s role in Kenya’s economy.
Nak-Yeon who is in the country on a two-day official visit is accompanied by more than 70 business leaders. Kenya has been the trading gateway to East African countries especially Uganda, Rwanda, South Sudan and Burundi.
President Kenyatta and Nak-Yeon met at State House, Nairobi, where they agreed to strengthen the partnership between Kenya and Korea especially in fields where the Asian economic giant is a leader such as technology and the blue economy.
South Korea which leads in shipping has agreed to support Kenya to develop its nascent sector. This will be complementary to the efforts of connecting Kenya as a trading gateway to other countries like Ethiopia through the LAPSSET project.
Prime Minister Nak-Yeon said his country is also ready to support the development of Kenya’s fishing industry as well as opening up its market to fish from Kenya. This move could earn the Kenyan business an extra revenue stream.
Nak-Yeon added that Korea will open its market to Kenya’s agricultural produce such as coffee, tea and flowers.
Korea has offered to partner with Kenya in the enhancement of manufacturing through the transfer of skills and is already supporting Kenya on the Konza techno city project.
The PM revealed that Korean phone manufacturing companies are ready to set up factories in Kenya and transfer their technology and skills. He said Korea is also ready to share its experience in healthcare with Kenya as it seeks to achieve Universal Health Coverage.
He further added that Korean companies have the expertise to support Kenya in achieving the affordable housing dream.
“The businessmen who have accompanied me are all looking for business opportunities in Africa and especially Kenya,” said PM Lee.
The Korean leader underscored Korea’s commitment to continue working with Kenya in expanding its geothermal power capacity, a field in which Kenya is among global leaders.
President Kenyatta said Kenya and Korea have similarities as they are both countries built on human capital and can benefit from a stronger partnership.
He lauded the support Korea has given in the establishment of the Kenya Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) at Konza, an institution aimed at enhancing the quality of higher learning in Science and technology.
“Promotion of a digital society is a fundamental priority of my government, as seen in the existing agreement in e-government, aimed at establishing a Korea-Kenya E-Government Cooperation Centre in Nairobi,” said President Kenyatta.
The meeting was attended by Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma and her counterparts Amina Mohamed (Education), Joe Mucheru (ICT) and Charles Keter (Energy).
This is the first High-level engagement of Kenya and the Republic of South Korea under the new administration of President Moon Jae-in.
Earlier in the day, the Korean PM attended a Korea-Kenya business forum at the Kempinski Hotel in Nairobi.