'Korea-Africa Summit' kicks off to boost economic ties

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Seoul, June 4 (IANS) The inaugural summit between South Korea and African nations kicked off on Tuesday to discuss expanding economic ties and cooperation in supply chain and development with the resource-rich countries.

The Korea-Africa Summit brought together delegations from 48 African nations, including 25 heads of state. The main session will be held on the first day, followed by a business summit focused on trade and investment on Wednesday, Yonhap news agency reported.

The gathering, the largest multilateral summit hosted by the administration of President Yoon Suk Yeol, takes place as South Korea is exploring ways to bolster economic ties with Africa, a massive consumer market with a population of 1.4 billion and a GDP of $3.4 trillion.

Currently, South Korea's trade with Africa only accounts for 1.9 per cent of the nation's total trade.

Africa's mass consumer market and abundant resources have drawn attention from South Korea, a major energy importer and home to the world's leading chipmakers and battery producers.

On the occasion of the summit, a memorandum of understanding on the "Key Minerals Cooperation Partnership" will be signed to strengthen related cooperation, according to the presidential office.

Yoon and Mauritania President Mohamed Ould Ghazouani, the chair of the African Union, will issue a joint statement at the end of the summit.

On the sidelines of the main session, Yoon plans to separately hold bilateral meetings with the leaders of Kenya, Madagascar, Liberia and Ghana.

Since Friday, Yoon has met 13 African leaders to sign a slew of agreements to pave the way for expanding trade and investment and cooperation in critical minerals, technology collaboration and joint exploration.

The countries include Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Lesotho, Ivory Coast, Mauritius, Zimbabwe, Togo, Rwanda, Mozambique, Sao Tome and Principe, Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde.

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