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South Korea seeks to partner with Africa on technology

In partnership with the African Development Bank, Korea is ready to step up technology transfers to Africa, officials have said.

Speaking at a meeting on potential technology partnerships between Korea and Africa, representatives of Busan Metropolitan City, Busan Techno Park, and Korea’s Green Technology Center said there was huge potential for cooperation and immense opportunities for job-creating bankable projects.

The range of business options include agriculture, green growth, smart urban transportation management, and numerous business opportunities.

President of the African Development Bank, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina said: “the partnership could drive towards an exponentially different future.

He added that the bank intends to explore the creation of a strategic partnership with Korea that could lead to the creation of a Korea-Africa research and training Drone Center, which could help pave the way for Africa’s 4th Industrial Revolution.

According to Hyung-Ju Kim, Director, Global Strategy Division, Green Technology Center, “Korean expertise can provide a practical and pragmatic solution to a wide range of Africa’s most pressing technology needs.

The African Development Bank could play a major role by bringing technology to the table while the bank identifies and facilitates bankable projects that can boost technology cooperation between Africa and Korea.

Adesina said: “We are determined to expand the use of drones in agriculture in Africa. What we do in Africa today, will determine global food security tomorrow.”

For the President of the African Development Bank, it is important that the technological partnership with Korea translates into capacity building on the ground, through training, so that Africa can industrialise, build or assemble drones.

Busan City’s dominance as a Smart City on the cutting of artificial intelligence is thanks in part to political vision, one of the largest research and development expenditures in the world, and a team of 12,000 researchers and scientists.

Speaking afterwards to the African diplomatic corps in Seoul, Adesina identified three main obstacles to private sector development —access to finance, energy and stability.

The Bank has invested $1 billion in AfreximBank, including $ 650 million in trade finance lines of credit and $ 350 million in trade insurance. The Bank has also invested $ 630 million in First Rand Bank and AbSA in South Africa to support expanded access to trade finance for 20 countries.

This financing effort includes small and medium-sized enterprises, which represent more than 80 per cent of businesses in Africa. In this respect, he cited the Asian example, where large companies relied on value chains dominated by SMEs including suppliers and subcontractors. The Bank’s strategy is to develop large companies while connecting them to SMEs for increased value creation.

“Without electricity it is impossible to industrialise Africa,” Adesina said. The Bank has made access to electricity a top priority. Its ‘Desert to Power’ initiative will develop an estimated 10,000 MW in the Sahel region, making it the largest solar project in the world.

Adesina, the head of Africa’s leading development finance institution, says, the Bank’s 2018 Africa Investment Forum in South Africa, “secured investment commitments worth $ 38.7 billion in less than 72 hours, which provides a strong indication of global interest in Africa’s emerging markets.”

Experts say in order for the African Development Bank to continue supporting the continent’s development, a general capital increase is necessary.

According to Adesina, an $11 billion increase in paid-in capital for example would significantly change the lives of millions of people, including 105 million who would have access to electricity; 137 million who would benefit from access to improved agricultural technologies; 22 million who would benefit from investments in private sector projects; 151 million with access to improved transportation services; and 110 million who would be provided with access to improved water and sanitation services.

Agencies.

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©THE NATIONAL TIMES NEWS (2018)