Yoon pledges to enhance critical mineral partnership with Africa

June 5, 2024

President Yoon Suk Yeol said Wednesday that South Korea will establish a critical mineral partnership with major African nations to develop resources on the continent in a “mutually beneficial” way.

Yoon made the remark during a business summit attended by industry leaders from South Korea and Africa, an event on the second day of the first-ever Korea-Africa Summit.

On the first day of the summit, South Korea and delegates from 48 African countries adopted a joint declaration to boost trade and investment and to collaborate on critical minerals and development projects.

The leaders also agreed to launch a ministerial-level critical mineral dialogue to ensure a resilient supply chain of resources needed for chips, batteries and renewable energy.

“Africa’s role has been in the growing spotlight amid increasing uncertainties in the global supply chain due to recent geopolitical risks. We hope to expand mutually beneficial resource cooperation by establishing the Critical Minerals Partnership with major African countries,” Yoon said in a keynote speech.

Yoon outlined plans to sign the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) and the Trade and Investment Promotion Framework (TIPF) with more African countries to facilitate smooth trade and investment activities.

He also expressed hope for increasing partnerships in transitioning to renewable energy sources, such as nuclear power, solar energy and hydrogen, to address climate change.

To bridge the gap within Africa, Yoon promised to push for “tailored development cooperation” to meet the demands of the Official Development Assistance (ODA) recipient countries.

South Korea aims to expand its ODA to approximately $10 billion by 2030 and provide export financing of about $14 billion to help Korean companies expand trade and investment in Africa.

Earlier in the day, Yoon held bilateral meetings with all the heads of state from Mauritania, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Comoros, Botswana, Eswatini, Central Africa and Seychelles, who are currently visiting South Korea.

During the meetings, Yoon reiterated Seoul’s commitment to expanding cooperation with each African nation, and achieving a future of mutual growth and strengthened solidarity. In response, the African leaders highly praised South Korea’s commitment.

Yoon also met with African Union (AU) Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat, commending the AU’s endeavors to maintain peace and security across the continent. He expressed hope that a medical training center, supported by the Korean government, would be completed soon and bolster the AU’s activities.