Jung Kang

The first-ever Korea-Africa Summit will be held in Seoul on June 4-5. From Ethiopia, the home of the African Union's headquarters and the gateway to the African continent, the summit is being regarded as very special in numerous respects.

Addis Ababa is often referred to as one of the cities with the most number of diplomatic missions along with New York and Geneva. Not only African countries, but also most European and Middle Eastern countries and many South American and Asian countries have diplomatic missions in Addis Ababa. Though Korea’s relations with Africa date back to only around the 60s, Korea’s diplomacy is considered one of the most active in Addis Ababa.

Many African diplomats I meet in Africa are looking forward to the hosting of the summit for several reasons. First, because of Korea’s unique position as a country that has experienced colonization and war in contemporary history, and had a GDP of less than US$1,000 per capita, many African countries identify with Korea. Most importantly, African nations want to learn about Korea’s success story as it offers a viable solution to the challenges that Africa faces.

Second, while some countries are perceived to host summits to ask for what they want from Africa, Korea is a country that stands side-by-side with African countries in their journey toward a bright tomorrow.

Lastly, as the Korean Wave encompassing Korean food, K-pop, K-drama, and K-beauty, is gaining increasing popularity in Africa, Korea is already at the top of many Africans’ travel wish list. Some African diplomats told me that they even received K-shopping lists from their children.

There are only about 10 countries in the world that held summits inviting leaders of African countries. Summits are considered as a pinnacle of diplomacy; hence, the upcoming Korea-Africa Summit can be viewed as a culmination of Korea’s diplomatic efforts in Africa and an opportunity to look at which direction Korea is heading towards with Africa. With respect and affection for Africa, Korea hopes to open a major chapter in its diplomacy towards Africa.

Jung Kang is ambassador of The Republic of Korea to the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and Permanent Representative to the African Union

QOSHE - Look at Korea-Africa Summit from Africa's perspective - Jung Kang
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Look at Korea-Africa Summit from Africa's perspective

106 0
19.05.2024

Jung Kang

The first-ever Korea-Africa Summit will be held in Seoul on June 4-5. From Ethiopia, the home of the African Union's headquarters and the gateway to the African continent, the summit is being regarded as very special in numerous respects.

Addis Ababa is often referred to as one of the cities with the most number of diplomatic missions along with New York and Geneva. Not only African countries, but also most European and Middle Eastern countries and many South American and Asian countries have diplomatic missions in Addis Ababa. Though Korea’s........

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