Rising Africa, Together With Korea - AfDB President Donald Kaberuka

Share |

Event: Third Korea-Africa Economic Cooperation Forum (KOAFEC III)

Since the KOAFEC was launched, many initiatives have been launched with the aim of consolidating the understanding between Africa and Korea and sharing development experience. It has been an important platform for promoting trade and investment between our countries. The African Development Bank has been honoured to play such a catalytic role. During this week, we will build on that progress by:

Concluding two MOUs between the Bank and Korea: the first one relative to a knowledge partnership strategy; and the second with the Korea Trade Investment Promotion Agency. The objective is to build on the growing trade and investment flows between Korea and Africa which, since the KOAFEC process began, has gone from strength to strength.

In addition, we will also agree on a co-financing scheme over a period 2011-2013 totalling 200 million dollars.

The Republic of Korea continues to be a reliable, trusted member of the African Development Bank. Last year, as the financial crisis attained African shores, and we, the Bank, were trying to help countries minimize the damage, Korea followed Canada’s footsteps and provided the Bank with temporary callable capital to allow us to respond to the financial crisis in our member countries while awaiting the completion of the negotiations for the General Capital Increase in May this year.

Last week, Korea has also committed to increase its contribution to the African Development Fund – our concessional window, its burden share. This is the type of support which, through the Bank, not only supports development activities in over 35 countries, but also enables us to leverage private sectors inflows.

This session of KOAFEC is aptly entitled “Rising Africa – Together with Korea”. Indeed, Africa is rising and its partnership with the emerging markets is growing. In November, Korea will host the G20. In Toronto, at the latest G20, a Development Working Group was formed, chaired by Korea and South Africa. The group has done considerable preparations and I understand will report at the Summit in Seoul. This is good news.

We not only welcome the formation of this group to which we are fully supportive and whose creation we very much welcome, but we strongly in particular welcome the fact that development issues affecting low income countries will be deliberated upon at the Seoul Summit.

Seoul is the right place for such a discussion; as a recently developing country, Korea – which has grown by leaps and bounds in a generation – contains in its trajectory lessons of that transition. I am not by any chance implying everything Korea has done is transposable. It cannot; every country is different.

The G20 is the right forum, with greater legitimacy, a more diverse type of development paths. And, much more crucially, time is opportune. As the structure of the world economy undergoes major shifts. As leaders search for ways to anchor the recovery from the recent crisis, Africa and other low income countries – as a young, urbanizing, growing continent – offer the opportunity to grow the global aggregate demand.

The potential and promise of our continent – its resources, its diversity, its growing optimism and momentum which is building up – offers the leaders in the Seoul Summit to engage with Africa differently. My colleagues will share with you today the recent economic evolution in Africa and the consolidation of the continent’s economic momentum. What you will hear is an encouraging story from IT, energy, agribusiness, infrastructure and, of course, the extractive industry.

As we look to the outcome of the Seoul Summit, we are confident that the outcome will, indeed, provide the opportunity for a comprehensive approach and a shift in the way the development question has been addressed since three decades, from donor recipient to partners in a global realignment: an opportunity for Africa to contribute to the recovery of the world economy by leveraging its little-tapped potential. You all know the story of giving a man a fish or teaching him how to fish. We are opting for a third option which goes beyond giving us a fish or teaching us how to fish: we prefer the third option, which is that of building a fishing industry.

The KOAFEC process has prepared the ground; I look forward to our third forum, the interaction with our Korean colleagues, government, business, academia and civil society to further consolidate our achievements and chart new paths for the future.

Let me once again thank our Korean hosts, our Ministers, Eminent Persons and all those who have worked to make this conference a success.

Thank you.