Korea seeks major trading partners in Africa

A view of the government complex in Sejong on June 14 (The Korea Herald)

South Korea will expand economic cooperation with African countries and encourage the advancement of local businesses on the continent, the country’s top economic policymaker said on Friday.

At a ministerial meeting to discuss the Economic Development Cooperation Fund’s operation plans in Seoul, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Choo Kyung-ho said the nation was “seeking to find new business partners in Africa, whose growth potential is significant”.

He expressed hope that Korea’s future economic ties with its African partners would approach the levels of those with some Southeast Asian countries, including Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines.

“To boost participation in EDCF projects among local private enterprises, the government plans to diversify the fund’s operating modes and expand the scale,” he said.

Korea launched the EDCF program in 1987 with the aim of supporting economic and social infrastructure projects in emerging economies.

Through the fund’s operations, the Korean government has provided low-interest loans to developing countries.

Minister Choo said the government would push for financial support to the private sector in developing countries as well as the current method of operation of the EDCF, in which Korea offers loans to their central governments.

The Ministry of Finance has pegged the EDCF implementation plan at more than 3 trillion won ($2.2 billion) per year.

By Kim Yon-se ([email protected])

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