The 7thth The Korea-Africa Economic Cooperation (KOAFEC) Ministerial Conference opened Wednesday (September 13) in Busan, Korea’s second-largest city, with a strong call for additional resources to help African countries achieve universal access energy and transform the continent into an energy granary. the world.
The conference takes place at a time when Africa faces a multitude of challenges. Nearly 600 million people on the continent do not have access to electricity. Furthermore, despite rapid growth across the continent, hunger remains pervasive in some countries, affecting some 283 million people. The war between Russia and Ukraine has exacerbated this figure. The same goes for the lingering effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and climate change.
Korea and African countries, under the umbrella of KOAFEC, agreed to deepen cooperation with greater emphasis on mutually beneficial investments.
The African Development Bank Group and the Ministry of Economy and Finance of the Republic of Korea are jointly organizing the three-day conference with the theme: “Embracing a sustainable future: just energy transition and agricultural transformation in Africa.“
Korean Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Finance Kyungho Choo highlighted the crucial role that Korea and Africa must play. He highlighted Korea’s strength in high-tech industry and innovative technologies.
He also highlighted the many opportunities that Africa offers as a future global market and industrial base with a young and dynamic population.
“Together, our two worlds can become the strongest rock of solidarity,” he said at the meeting, stressing the need for Africa and Korea to strengthen cooperation.
AfDB Group President Akinwumi Adesina urged delegates to seize the conference as a crucial opportunity to galvanize support for several goals: achieving universal energy access in Africa, advancing a just energy transition and transform the African continent into the breadbasket of the world.
“This will require additional resources,” Adesina said.
Adesina said the planned reallocation of Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) from the International Monetary Fund to the African Development Bank was key to attracting additional resources to develop Africa.
He urged Korea to join other countries that have expressed keen interest in the reallocation of SDRs to the African Development Bank Group.
“This will be a game changer for Africa’s development,” Adesina noted.
Choo summarized Korea’s priority areas of support for Africa as “ABC”: agriculture, biohealth and climate change, as well as energy transition. He added that Korea also plans to significantly increase its official development assistance.
Choo said that in cooperation with the African Development Bank, Korea supports energy projects for Africa’s sustainable development. “We are also working to support Africa’s growth, as outlined in the African Development Bank’s High 5 development priorities,” Choo said.
“As a true partner, Korea will continue to support Africa’s development,” he said.
Adesina described the KOAFEC conference as a good opportunity to discuss the progress of Korea-Africa relations, development challenges and opportunities in Africa, and a chance for all parties to continue working together to accelerate the growth and development of Africa.
“Africa must be a solution to feeding the world, because it has 65% of the world’s uncultivated arable land,” he told delegates, adding: “What Africa does with agriculture will therefore determine the future of food in the world. “
Adesina commended the Korean government for its K-Rice Belt initiative, which will help eight African countries produce 30 million tonnes of rice.
The initiative aligns with the African Development Bank’s Feed Africa strategy and the outcomes of the Dakar 2 Food Summit earlier this year. The Bank intends to ensure that Africa achieves food self-sufficiency within five years.
The K-Rice Belt project also has parallels with the African Development Bank’s flagship project. Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) program. The TAAT Rice Compact continues to collaborate with the Korea-Africa Food and Agriculture Cooperation Initiative (KAFACI) through AfricaRice. TAAT supports the KAFACI network of 13 African countries through workshops, joint planning and regular interactions.
The African Development Bank has launched a $650 million rice program to support 15 African countries in their quest to produce 53 million tonnes of rice by 2025.
“This represents a great opportunity for Korea to work with the African Development Bank on a pan-African rice production initiative,” said the Bank president.
The Bank is preparing a regional operation to finance the Regional Rice Resilient Value Chain Development (REWARD) program in West Africa. Through this program, the Bank will provide $650 million to the 15 member countries of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
REWARD targets double harvest and yields on 750,000 hectares of irrigated land. One million rice farmers will benefit, and 30% of these farmers are women. The initiative will increase total paddy production to 10.5 million tonnes per year, or 53 million tonnes by the end of the five-year program in 2028.
The Bank should work closely with K-Rice Belt on this program.
Korea is a strong and consistent supporter of the African Development Bank Group. The country strongly supported the general capital increase of the Bank in 2019.
Korea also pledged $105 million for the 16th replenishment of the African Development Fund; the highest amount ever pledged to the Fund.
The Korea Trust Fund and the $600 million Korea-Africa Energy Investment Framework will help African countries strengthen their human capacities and develop their energy sectors.
Adesina noted that for African countries to collectively achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, the continent needed an investment of $2.3 trillion. He highlighted that limited access to electricity was a significant barrier, emphasizing that it was still out of reach for nearly 600 million people.
He said much progress had been made since the African Development Bank launched its New Deal on Energy for Africa in 2016. He explained that although the percentage of those with access to electricity has since increased from 35% to 56%, there is still much to be done. TO DO.
“To achieve universal access to electricity, we need to add 90 million people per year by 2030. We also need to add 130 million people per year to achieve universal access to clean cooking energy,” Adesina said.
He said Africa had enormous renewable energy potential, including 11 terawatts of solar power – the highest in the world – of which only 1 percent was used. Adesina also said the African Development Bank had invested heavily in renewable energy, with the share of renewable energy in its power generation portfolio now standing at 87%.
The Bank President, however, stressed that it would be impossible to provide universal access to electricity in Africa by relying solely on renewable energy due to their high intermittency and variability, which undermined reliability for industrial use.
“As we think about a just energy transition, Africa must not be denied the opportunity to use its natural gas, which it now has in abundance thanks to new discoveries. This will not make the climate crisis worse. On the contrary, it will reduce emissions in Africa. ” said Adesina.
He told the audience that the Bank was participating in partnerships for a just energy transition in South Africa and Senegal ($2.5 billion) with the European Union, the United States, the United Kingdom, the Germany and France.
He explained that the Bank would support South African partnerships for just energy through a billion dollar guarantee facility from the United Kingdom, adding that the institution also supported efforts to develop projects more bankable through its New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) infrastructure project preparation mechanism. and Africa50.
The head of the African Development Bank concluded: “Africa’s future is bright. And it will be even brighter thanks to a strong partnership with South Korea. Let’s accelerate Africa’s growth and development together . Let’s succeed together.”
Dr. Hwang-yong Kim, director general of the Technology Cooperation Bureau of the Korea Rural Development Administration, said there is every reason to believe that African countries could emulate Korea’s successful development trajectory.
The 7thth The KOAFEC Ministerial Conference brings together important African development stakeholders, including 33 African Finance Ministers and Executive Directors of the African Development Bank representing African member countries, African ambassadors, heads of Pan-African institutions and various non-governmental organizations, as well as African CEOs and leaders. Korean private sector leaders.