Technology transfers: Korea ready to join Africa

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Seoul, South Korea, 7 February 2019 – South Korea is ready, in partnership with the African Development Bank, to intensify its technology transfer to Africa, said Korean officials on Thursday, 7 February 2019 in Seoul. "A win-win proposition," according to Akinwumi A. Adesina, President of the African Development Bank (AfDB).

It was at a meeting on possible technological partnerships between Korea and Africa. Representatives from the city of Busan metropolitan city, the Busan Techno Park Centre and the Korean Green Technology Center consider that the potential for cooperation is immense, as are the opportunities for job-creating projects. The range ranges from agriculture to green growth, through intelligent urban transport management and many other business opportunities.

"The future will be radically different," said the President of the African Development Bank, Akinwumi Adesina, enthusiastic. Who indicated that the Bank intends to "study the establishment of a strategic partnership with Korea that could lead to the establishment of a Korean-africanated research and training centre on drones, paving the way for the fourth revolution industrial industry in Africa ".

"Korean expertise can provide a concrete, pragmatic solution to a range of Africa's screaming technological needs," in the opinion of Hyung-ju Kim, who heads the global strategy Division within the Green Technology Center. And to add: "the African Development Bank could play a major role here: If we can bring technology, the Bank can, for its part, identify and facilitate viable projects, able to multiply technological cooperation between Africa and Korea. »

The African Development Bank, in cooperation with the city of Busan and the Busan Techno Park, and with funding from the Korea-Africa Cooperation Fund (KOAFEC), has launched a pilot project for the use of drones for the collection and analysis of data for the development of agriculture in Tunisia: control and monitoring of irrigated perimeters, monitoring of groundwater, effects of climate change, land degradation, biodiversity, filling and/or siltation rates of dams, monitoring of seasons and agricultural production…

Korea and the African Development Bank are considering extending this programme to other regions in Tunisia and other countries in Africa and exploring the enormous potential of industrial areas in other sectors.

"We are committed to developing the use of drones in the service of agriculture in Africa. What we are doing today in Africa, tomorrow, has determined food security around the world, "Adesina launched.

For the President of the African Development Bank, it is important that the technology partnership with Korea translates into capacity building on the ground, through training, for Africa to industrialise, and that it be also able to build or assemble drones itself.

While Busan has been able to assert itself as the world capital of artificial intelligence, it is thanks – in part – to a political vision that has led the country to establish itself as the world's leading investor in research and development, which can boast count today 12 000 researchers and scientists.

In the face of the African diplomatic corps he met in Seoul, Akinwumi Adesina recalled the three major impediments to private sector development: access to finance, access to energy and stability. The Bank has invested 1 billion million in AfreximBank, including 650 million million in credit lines allocated to trade finance and 350 million for trade insurance. The Bank also invested 630 million million in first RAND Bank and AbSA in South Africa to expand access to trade finance to 20 countries.

This funding effort extends to small and medium-sized enterprises, which account for more than 80% of businesses in Africa. The President of the African Development Bank quoted the Asian example, where large companies relied on a chain of values where SMEs operate (suppliers, subcontractors…). The Bank therefore has a strategy to develop large companies by connecting them to SMEs, for greater value creation.

Recalling that without electricity it is impossible to industrialise Africa, President Adesina said that the Bank has made access to electricity a top priority. The ' desert to power ' initiative, the largest solar project in the world, intends to develop 10 000 MW in the Sahel.

Adesina, who leads the first development finance institution in Africa, stressed that in 2018, the Africa Investment Forum "mobilized investment commitments worth 38.7 billion in less than 72 hours, a strong signal of the global interest in emerging African markets. "

But for the African Development Bank to continue to support the development of the continent, a general increase in capital is needed. Akinwumi Adesina stated that a capital increase leading to an additional amount of 11 billion would change the lives of millions of people: 105 million people will be able to access electricity; 137 million people will benefit from improved agricultural technologies; 22 million others will benefit from the impact of investment in private sector projects; 151 million people will have access to improved transportation services; and 110 million people will access better water supply and sanitation services.

In the opinion of the Dean of the Board of Directors of the African Development Bank, Abdelmajid Mellouki, this capital increase would allow the Bank to provide financial resources to African countries at particularly advantageous costs.

Adesina makes a three-day visit to Korea, as part of his appointment to the SunHak peace prize 2019, in conjunction with the famous female genital mutilation activist Waris Dirie. This is the first time this prize has returned to the African continent.

Adesina is expected to deliver a keynote address at the world peace summit of global leaders, on 9 February 2019.

Moctar FICOU/VivAfrik

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