Venture into Africa and seize opportunities, leading lecturer tells Korea

A leading lecturer wants Korea to be aggressive in venturing into Africa for development projects.

Professor Taehwan Kim of Korea National Diplomatic Academy (KNDA) said Africa is the remaining growing continent with diverse opportunities that Korea cannot afford to lose or avoid.

He said Korea has not paid attention to Africa despite the growing opportunities that can help it cement its position in the world as a giant.

“My advice to Korea is to pay attention to Africa now. Africa is on the rise in terms of mobile connectivity and all development areas. Africa has many natural resources that Korea can help in exploring,” said Kim.

Addressing a group of international journalists at the Korea National Diplomatic Academy, in Seoul, Korea, Kim argued China’s input in Africa is rapidly backfiring hence need for Korea to urgently move in.

“Our studies show China is exporting workers abroad, which is not resonating well with the locals. It is backfiring. It is now the time for Korea to move in,” he said.

Prof Kim argued Korea has technological and financial capacity that can help it boost development in the African States especially in infrastructure.

The don told Korea to shift its foreign policy and focus on Africa and Central America, which are emerging new markets.

He said Korea’s foreign policy include continuing to maintain alliance with the US, nourishing good relationship with China, improving the inter-Korean relations while laying ground for reunification, developing multilateral security cooperation through the Northeast Asia Peace and Cooperation Initiative (NAPCI)and strengthening regional cooperation.

Korea is the home to mobile and electronic giants Samsung and LG and carmaker Hyundai.

During the visit, journalists were taken to various sites including the Demilitarised Zone, which is the boundary between the North and South Korea, which are technically in war for more than 60 years.

In 1945, Korea was divided into Soviet and U.S. occupation zones, with the South becoming the Republic of Korea in 1948.

An invasion from North Korea in 1950 led to the Korean War that ended in 1953 with an armistice.

Despite minor incidents with the North, peace has since continued with the two agreeing to reunify peacefully and the South dominating inter-Korean politics as a regional power with the world's 10th largest defence budget.

Between 1962 and 1994, South Korea's tiger economy soared at an average of 10 percent annually, fuelled by annual exports of 20 percent.

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