The African Union Commission Chairperson Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma held talks with Korean President Park Geun-hye on issues concerning Africa and South Korea’s cooperation and development endeavours at the AU Headquarters yesterday.
In her welcoming remarks, Dr. Nkosazana said that the developmental state model developed in South Korea and in other parts of East Asia is the basis for our inspirations particularly those related to inclusive growth as well as accountable states and institutions. While developing Agenda 2063, African governments looked over South Korea’s experience, and learned that strong states and institutions are an important driver for the type of development required to lift our people out of poverty and inequality, she added.
African governments also learned that South Korea could rise through its comparative strengths and capabilities in strategic sectors. She added that the development of African blue economy is an important element for the implementation of Agenda 2063.
As South Korea made sound efforts in keeping gender equality and women’s rights, creating job and economic opportunities; African governments need to strengthen our expertise and programmes in manufacturing, infrastructure, maritime, among others mutually identified priority areas, Dr. Nkosazana stressed.
“We also need to strengthen our technical, vocational and higher education systems through this partnership,” in addition, “Africa wanted to further enhance collaborations in innovation, science, technology, engineering and mathematics,” she emphasized.
President Park on her part said that as Korea set forth on the philosophy called Saemaul Undong with indomitable determination and achieved sound economy and democracy with our blood and sweat, African countries will also prevail an achievement from their ambitious goals and aspirations.
It is historic that Ethiopia deployed her troops to the Korean war where they shed their blood to help defend Korea’s freedom and democracy, she noted.
President Park anticipated, “It is my hope that Korea, a country that cherishes such experiences, may become Africa’s companion towards the future.” However, the path that Korea and Africa have taken, might have been different; the path ahead to progress and prosperity can be traveled unitedly,” she added.
According to her, Korea is committed to sharing its accumulative experiences, knowledge and mindset to build a cooperative partnership for mutual growth and prosperity.
President Park announced the launching of a new initiative called the “Blue Print for Comprehensive Cooperation with Africa,” and share what Korea aspires to do together with Africa in its journey towards realizing Agenda 2063.
She suggested that Africa’s greatest potential lies in its people especially its youth and women. The creative and passionate young minds of Africa and girls with dreams growing up in a healthy environment will open a new future for Africa, she added.
President Park also pledged that over the next five years, 6000 talented Africans will be offered education and training opportunities in either Korea or Africa. Moreover, 4000 Korean volunteers will be sent to Africa to provide training.
BY ZELALEM GIRMA