25 Heads of State to Attend Korea-Africa Summit

The first-ever Korea-Africa Summit, scheduled to take place from June 4-5th, is set to receive representatives from 48 African nations as well as 25 heads of state under the slogan “The Future We Make Together: Shared Growth, Sustainability, and Solidarity.”

What You Need to Know:

In the lead-up to the summit, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol engaged bilaterally with the Presidents of Tanzania, Sierra Leone, and Mauritania, as well as the Prime Minister of Ethiopia.

The first day of the summit is set to focus on discussions around avenues for engagement in the mineral and technological sectors.

Speaking to AFP, President Yoon stated that he seeks to “lay the foundation for comprehensive cooperation, including the exchange of information related to critical minerals, technological collaboration, and joint exploration.”

In finalizing the summit’s vision statement, the South Korean Foreign Ministry said that “both sides shared the opinion that, above all, there is a need to enhance economic cooperation through the promotion of trade and investment and expand the institutional frameworks to that end.”

“They also concurred that sharing South Korea’s expertise and technology could expedite the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), thereby contributing to Africa’s economic development.”

The second day is set to cover business discussions, hosted by South Korea’s Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy, with Africa’s young population, growing industries, and wealth of resources proving lucrative as the continent once again becomes an area of strategic importance.

Furthermore, South Korea has stressed the importance of strong diplomatic relations with the continent, particularly as it holds significant voting power in multilateral institutions such as the United Nations.

“Africa wields significant influence at the United Nations with 54 votes, which is more than any other continent, and approximately 40 percent of the UN Security Council’s agenda items are related to Africa,” said South Korea’s Deputy Director of National Security.

“For South Korea, a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, cooperation with Africa is essential. As the country aims to become a global pivotal state, partnering with Africa is not a choice but a necessity.”

The Details:

South Korea has joined a growing list of nations focusing on Africa in recent years, as the importance of critical minerals and resources for use in technology grows.

Other Western nations such as Italy, who held its own Africa summit in early February, have focused on establishing partnerships in African agricultural sectors, while the United States, who held its Africa business summit in early May, has recently grappled with its loss of influence in the Sahel and West Africa. Russian cooperation with Africa remains focused on the defense and security sectors, while Russia’s Wagner Group receives resource concessions from the African regimes they prop up, enabling the Kremlin to bypass Western sanctions.

Bianca Bridger
Bianca Bridger
Bianca Bridger is a Political Science Graduate from the University of Otago, New Zealand. Currently working as an Editor for The ModernInsurgent and writing for Atlas News, her interests include conflict politics, history, yoga and meditation.

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