President Park Geun-hye said on May 27 (local time) that South Korea will be a trustful partner that grows and develops with Africa.
"South Korea would like to share its experiences of development that it has learned through a variety of efforts made over the past half century,” President Park said in a special speech at the African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia where she dropped first in her trip to African countries.
Park said specifically Seoul will provide opportunities for 6,000 people in Africa in either South Korea or Africa to receive education and vocational training while sending 4,000 South Korean volunteers to Africa over the next five years.
She added that South Korea wanted to contribute to growth and development of African countries through transferring knowledge of the Samaeul (New Village) Movement. “Sharing the spiritual movement with African people, we will present a new model to cooperate for the African development by implementing the “Korea Aid” program, which is a mobile, composite cooperation project to provide health service, food and cultural content to local people using trucks, she explained. The Korea Aid program is expected to begin first in Ethiopia, Uganda and Kenya.
Park stressed, “South Korea will make efforts for mutually-beneficial and future-oriented economic cooperation with Africa,” saying, “We will make a win-win success story of creating a synergy and providing a substantial help for Africa’s economic development, including employment creation and technology transfer, by combining Africa’s abundant labor and natural resources with South Korea’s technology and capital.”
Park went on saying, “We will strengthen the framework for cooperation with Africa by expanding and deepening the existing institutional foundation to connect South Korea to Africa,” adding, “The coming annual meeting of African Development Bank (AFDB), which will be held in South Korea in 2018, will serve important momentum for it.”
The president also said South Korea will set up technology innovation centers in Africa to share its experience of innovation with African countries. She vowed to cooperate with the African Union for education and healthcare of African girls, too.
President Geun-hye is the first President of South Korea to visit the African Union. The event took place from 9:30 am at the African Union Headquarters. Her special speech was delivered in the presence of around 1,300 personnel including the diplomatic corps, the African and international communities based in Addis Ababa, officials and staff of the African Union Commission and invited guests.
Prior to delivering the speech, Park met with Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Chairperson of the African Union Commission at the headquarters of the African Union. The two female leaders were known to have talks on issues concerning Africa and South Korea’s cooperation and development.
After the event in the African Union Headquarters, President Park met her Ethiopian counterpart Hailemariam Desaleg and watched with the Ethiopian President that their representatives signed four MOUs in the health care sector and one MOU in the social welfare sector. According to Korea’s Ministry of Health and Welfare, the MOUs call for a broad range of joint research and public health collaborations, and exchange of medical personnel including doctors.
President Park’s next trip is set to visit Kampala, Uganda, and Nairobi, Kenya, for summit talks with Uganda's president Yoweri Museveni and Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta.