Korea Sets For African Scramble, Targets Nigeria As Springboard Into Continent

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The Republic of Korea is joining the seemingly never-ending scramble for Africa and is courting Nigeria as a partner, proposing to use the world’s most populous Black nation as a springboard to wooing the continent.

Consequently, ahead of a proposed Korean-African Summit scheduled for 2024, a top official of the Asian country has described Nigeria as being on the gateway to unlocking the potential of the African continent, notably the blue economy.

Blue economy is a term in economics relating to the exploitation, preservation and regeneration of the marine environment.

The outstanding description of the status of Nigeria in Africa came from no less a person than the Deputy Minister for Overseas Koreans and Consular Affairs, Republic of Korea, Mr. Choi Yeong.

“Nigeria is one of the biggest countries on the African continent in terms of economic size, population and market potential. So, Nigeria can be an essential partner to us, the People of Korea.

“Nigeria can be our gateway to the whole of the African continent. We are glad to inform you that Korea has scheduled a summit involving the entire African continent in 2024 and hope it will strengthen the relationship with Nigeria and Africa,” he said.

In a statement on Tuesday, the Assistant Director, Public Relations, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Mr. Edward Osagie, stated that Yeong barred his mind during a courtesy visit by a Korean delegation to the NIMASA Management in Lagos, South-West Nigeria.

The Korean team was led by the Korean Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Kim Young Chae.

Yeong commended the sustained and improved security situation in the Gulf of Guinea with the strong presence of Nigeria.

He added that the Korean Government looked forward to continuous support from the Nigerian Government in the area of intelligence and information sharing.

Responding, the Director-General of NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, noted that the relationship between both countries dated back over 40 years, and, therefore, a need to deepen it further.

He noted that Korea was a foremost maritime country with highly recognised capacity in shipbuildin and ship repairs, adding that Nigeria was willing to partner with Korea in shipbuilding for the short-, medium- and long-term benefits of both countries.

“There is not how the issue of trade can flourish without adequate security.

“NIMASA is making steady progress in collaboration with the Nigerian Navy and other security agencies to secure the safety and security of investors, vessels, and seafarers in the Nigerian maritime domain.

“Considering the fact that the population of Koreans is highest in Nigeria when compared to other African states, the need for an improved relationship between Nigeria and Korea cannot be over-emphasised.

“Korea has arguably the best ship building companies, globally, and that is an area we desire partnership.

“We have commenced discussions with the Samsung Group and Hyundai as well on the issue of shipbuilding and ship repairs,” Jamoh said.

On piracy issues in the Gulf of Guinea, the NIMASA boss said that since the second quarter of 2021, there had been no issues of kidnapping and insecurity.

He assured the Koreans that the Federal Government was determined to achieve a safe and secured maritime domain in Nigeria, noting that the time to improve the Korean-Nigerian bilateral relationship, particularly in the fishing sector, was now.

“I believe we can also explore improved interphase in areas such as deep-sea fishing. Fishing in Nigeria used to be a very large source of income, not far behind oil and gas.

“The numbers are not looking very encouraging at the moment. Partnership will lead to more fishing trawlers in Nigerian waters,” he said.

Yeong and his team members visited the Deep Blue C4i Centre, located in the NIMASA Nigerian Maritime Resource Development Centre (NMRDC) in Kirikiri; the NIMASA e-Library; the Marine Environment Management Laboratory; and the Kitack Lim Regional Maritime Safety and Security Centre of Excellence.

 

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