According to Lyeo Woon-ki, director of the Korea-Africa Foundation, Nigeria has replaced South Africa as the Republic of Korea’s main trading partner on the African continent.
The trade volume between Nigeria and Korea was $1.5 billion as of June this year, surpassing the trade volume between Korea and South Africa, according to Lyeo, who made this announcement in Abuja at a media discussion. In 2021, commerce between Nigeria and Korea was $2.0 billion.
“The trade volume between Nigeria and Korea is bigger than between Korea and South Africa. In 2021, the figure was around $2 billion and by the half of this year, the figure has gone beyond $1.5 billion. All of these happened despite the COVID-19 pandemic and limited trading. We are sure it will be about two billion dollars by the end of the current year. The balance of trade between both countries is almost equal,” he stated. He added that the Korea-Africa Foundation was established to foster business and cultural cooperation between Korea and the continent.
Lyeo bemoaned the distasteful news that is available to the Korean people regarding Nigeria, despite the fact that Koreans are keen to visit for business and cultural events.
He said: “Unfortunately, the news out there about Nigeria portrays the country as a dangerous place to live. However, my experience is completely different from what I read before coming. I have met a lot of Nigerians these last few days since I came into the country and I can say they are warm and receptive people. Nigeria needs to do a lot more to portray the image of Nigeria abroad.”
In order to strengthen trade collaboration between the two nations, Lyeo revealed that the Foundation will work with the Nigeria Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Kim Young-Chae, the ambassador of Korea to Nigeria, characterized Nigerian youths as dynamic and tech-savvy.
“Last year, the embassy here in Abuja sponsored some children to Lagos to interact with Korean companies such as LG and Samsung to see first-hand what they do. We want Nigerian youths to understand our culture while their counterparts also understand the culture of Nigeria. This will foster understanding and cooperation between the people of both countries. We are going to replace that this year as part of efforts to showcase what the embassy of Korea is doing here in Nigeria,” he said.
Young-chae disclosed that a military agreement between Nigeria and the Korean Republic is being negotiated in order to increase Nigeria’s security. He stated: “Korea has emerged as one of the strongest military formations in the world. The feat was achieved basically as a survival strategy because of the nature of our existence. I think it will be good if Nigeria and the Korean Republic strike an agreement on military cooperation. Indeed, the Nigerian Minister of Defence had paid a visit to Seoul recently in that regard. I hope this is done very soon as Nigeria continues to battle Boko Haram and banditry.”