Korea Signs $5bn African Financial Package At AfDB Annual Meetings

The Government of South Korea, on Wednesday, May 23, 2018 at the ongoing Korea-Africa Economic Cooperation Conference, in the country’s port city of Busan, announced a $5bn bilateral financial assistance package for Africa with African Development Bank at the Korea-Africa Economic Cooperation (KOAFEC) Conference during the AfDB’s 53rd Annual Meetings.
The Ministerial Roundtable is the signature event of the biennial KOAFEC Conference, gathering a peer group of African Ministers of Finance who also serve as the ADB Board of Governors to discuss topical issues and a pan-African approach to engagement with Korea.
The $5bn financial assistance package will be delivered over two years in partnerships with various development agencies, including but not limited to the AfDB Group, with the package leveraging resources from various Korean bilateral agencies and platforms. They include the Knowledge Sharing Program, the Economic Development Cooperation Fund, Korea Import-Export Bank, among others.
Specifically, 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 $5bn package by the AfDB Group.
The first was the extension of the General Cooperation Agreement which allowed for the replenishment of the KOAFEC Trust Fund housed at the African Development Bank with US $18m. The Trust Fund, now totaling $93m will continue to provide critical capacity building grants and resources for project feasibility studies. An Action Plan of 20 KOAFEC projects were endorsed during the Conference for 2019-2020 destined for a diverse group of countries and sectors.
With 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. Focus was also on value addition in sectors where Africa has comparative advantage particularly agriculture and natural resources, just as there was also a need to further leverage technology such as the mobile phone for more inclusive growth, in favour of the youth.
Both parties also signed an agreement to provide up to $600m towards the energy sector. The bank and the government of Korea also signed an MoU for the Korea-AfDB Tech Corps Programme which will allow for the exchange of technical expertise and human resources, to address ongoing challenges of youth unemployment in both regions.
Speaking at the event, 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.”