Some three dozen ambassadors and heads of foreign diplomatic missions here in South Korea convened for a day-long forum on the nation’s ties with Africa in the Memorial Hall at the National Assembly on Friday.
Diplomatic representatives of all 17 African nations with embassy-level ties here participated along with many others from the foreign diplomatic community in the “National Assembly Forum for Africa’s New Era” which sought to promote bilateral ties between the African region and South Korea in the areas of trade, investment and cultural and people-to-people exchanges.
The forum was chaired by National Assembly Speaker Kang Chang-hee and attended by Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se.
“At this early stage, the African group of ambassadors is very optimistic of the resounding success of the forum due to the involvement and commitment of the members of the Korean National Assembly,” said Kenyan Ambassador to South Korea Ngovi Kitau in introductory remarks he delivered on behalf of the African group of envoys.
“It is also important to note that the forum comes at the right time to sensitize the Korean public in playing a greater role in the numerous trade and investment opportunities offered by the African continent.”
Some 173 Korean parliamentary and government delegates have visited Kenya, compared to only 155 for the whole of 2012, Kitau said.
“That demonstrates an increased interest in Kenya.”
Recently, a number of diplomatic groupings have been established to upgrade South Korean ties with the fastest growing region in the world in terms of economic growth.
Experts and those deeply involved in the groups have characterized them as “instruments of dialogue,” such groupings as Korea-Africa Forum, Korea-Africa Economic Cooperation Forum, the Korea-Africa Industry Cooperation Forum, and the Korea-Africa Food and Agricultural Cooperation Initiative, as well as the Africa Future Center and the so-called “Global Saemaul Movement.”
By Philip Iglauer (email@example.com