Korea is seeking to boost its business presence in Africa by establishing three new business centers to support Korean businesses and African importers there, a state-run trade agency said Wednesday.
The Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency said it had opened one of the new Korea Business Centers in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa on Tuesday.
The agency is also set to open a KBC in Accra, the capital of Ghana, on Friday, and one in Douala, the largest city in Cameroon, in September, it said.
The three new KBCs will bring the number of Korean business support centers in Africa to seven as KOTRA already has KBCs in South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya and Sudan.
“Africa had long been regarded as a subject of one-sided assistance and not a business partner due to years of civil wars, famine and diseases, but with a reduction of armed conflicts and strong economic growth that has stayed above an annual average of 5 percent since 2004 the region is now becoming a new trade partner,” KOTRA said.
KOTRA noted the African continent may become one of the world’s largest markets in the future with over 800 million people living in the 48 countries south of the Sahara Desert.
Africa’s imports jumped more than two-fold from $154 billion in 2004 to $324 billion in 2008, recording annual growth of over 20 percent, it said.
In 2009, Korea shipped $9.62 billion worth of products to African countries, only about 2 percent of its annual exports. The country imported $4.68 million worth of goods, or 1.1 percent of all its imports, from Africa in the same year.
“Africa is also becoming very important as a future source of energy for our country as the region has the world’s third largest reserves of oil and the world’s fourth largest reserves of natural gas,” KOTRA said.