Africa is gradually heading to the crest of financial and economic stability with recent innovations serving as glimmers of hope for a new industrialized Africa.
Lending credence to the foregoing statement, the Government of South Korea and the African Development Bank (AfDB) issued a Joint Declaration on May 23, in Busan, South Korea – at the bank’s 53rd Annual General Meetings.
The declaration was reached following the conclusion of the Ministerial Roundtable of the Korea-Africa Economic Cooperation (KOAFEC) in which Korea announced a $5 billion bilateral financial assistance package for Africa.
Highly revered as a signature event of the biennial KOAFEC Conference, the Ministerial Roundtable drew in a variety of intellectual heavyweights and group of African Finance Ministers who also serve as the AfDB’s Board of Governors to discuss topical issues and a pan-African approach to engage Korea.
Taking place under the theme “Africa and the 4th Industrial Revolution: Opportunities for leapfrogging?”, the Ministerial Conference highlighted the need for long-term planning for industrial development and execution of projects, as well as a focus on value addition in sectors where Africa has comparative advantage, for example; in agriculture and natural resources. There was also a need to further leverage technology such as the mobile phone for more inclusive growth, in favour of the youth.
According to live reports from AgroNigeria’s Dimeji Martins, AfDB President, Akinwumi Adesina and the Deputy Prime Minister of Korea, Dong Yeon Kim, signed three cooperation agreements for the implementation of certain components of the $5 billion package by the Bank Group.
Speaking at the watershed agreement, President Adesina said: “Africa needs to build, and we will build wider partnerships for development. We want to build strong investment partnerships with Asia going forward.”
The $5-billion financial assistance package will be delivered over two years through partnerships with various development agencies, including but not limited to the African Development Bank Group.
The package leverages resources from various Korean bilateral agencies and platforms, including the Knowledge Sharing Program, the Economic Development Cooperation Fund, Korea Import-Export Bank, among others.
The Bank and the Government of Korea also signed a MoU for the Korea-AfDB Tech Corps Program which will allow for the exchange of technical expertise and human resources that will address widespread challenges of youth unemployment in both regions.