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Faith Nyasuguta

Last week, African leaders convened in Seoul and committed to ensuring a stable and organized supply of minerals to South Korea

This commitment, aimed at facilitating South Korea’s access to essential raw materials for energy transition, was formalized in a joint declaration between South Korean leaders and representatives from 48 African countries attending the Korea-Africa Summit.

The agreement, announced by South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol and Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Ghazouani, the Chairperson of the African Union, includes the initiation of a high-level dialogue. This dialogue will focus on the supply chain from Africa’s mineral-rich countries, discussing how Korean companies can invest in the mineral extraction sectors and explore methods to add value to these products.


In their joint declaration, the leaders stated, “We agree to launch the Korea-Africa Critical Minerals Dialogue during this summit, which will serve as an important institutional foundation for enhancing cooperation between Korea and Africa. Additionally, we share a common view on enhancing cooperative efforts to ensure the stable supply of critical minerals and promote technology collaboration related to critical minerals on mutually agreed terms.”

South Korea had been anticipating its first summit with African leaders to elevate its profile on the continent and strengthen economic ties. In a competitive landscape where China, the US, Russia, the European Union, Britain, and India have already established their influence, South Korea emphasized the significance of shared experiences and lessons learned from both regions.

Chung Byung-won, Korea’s Deputy Minister for Political Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, highlighted to journalists that South Korea’s history of overcoming poverty positions it uniquely to collaborate with Africa. 

“Among the countries who have already held summits with Africa, not a single country shares a history similar to that of Korea and Africa. Korea overcame significant obstacles and achieved remarkable growth, not solely by itself but with the support of the international community,” Chung remarked from Seoul prior to the summit.

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol (right) and Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Ghazouani who serves as chairperson of the African Union, shake hands at a joint press conference held at KINTEX /Yonhap/

However, this partnership is not solely based on historical connections. South Korea is keen to tap into Africa’s vast mineral resources, which are crucial for the country’s transition to greener technologies. In addition, South Korea aims to solidify trade relations with Africa. Chung emphasized the broader goal of strengthening economic cooperation with Africa to foster development and growth, underlining that the partnership is driven by mutual benefit and shared objectives.

This summit marks a significant step for South Korea as it seeks to secure critical mineral supplies necessary for its energy transition, while also forging stronger economic and technological ties with African nations. The Korea-Africa Critical Minerals Dialogue is expected to be a pivotal platform for advancing these collaborative efforts.


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Faith Nyasuguta

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