Dr Joseph Siaw Agyepong —   Chairman, Jospong Group of Companies
Dr Joseph Siaw Agyepong — Chairman, Jospong Group of Companies
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Jospong courts support for African businesses in South Korea

Ghana and Africa have a lot of business and development gains from their relationship with South Korea, the Executive Chairman of the Jospong Group of Companies, Dr Joseph Siaw Agyepong, has said.

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“Opportunity is important in business”, he said, adding that South Korea had advanced technology in renewable energy which could be of benefit to the continent. “South Korea has capacity that can benefit African businesses and they need to unleash that to benefit the continent and Ghana,” he said in an interview in Seoul, South Korea, on the sidelines of the Korea-Africa Summit.

Dr Agyepong stressed that the private sector was ready to partner South Korea, but it must remove restrictions and bureaucracy as it seeks to support 48 African nations.

Commendation

The executive chairman commended the South Korean President, Yoon Suk-Yeol, for his commitment to boosting support for Africa, including enhanced trade and investment pledges.

Dr Agyepong further stressed the need for collaboration in critical areas such as minerals, digital transformation, climate change, food security and public health. “The whole world is about climate change. In Ghana, Jospong Group has tackled waste management as a serious issue, from collection to haulage, composting, recycling and other forms of treatment,” he added.

Summit

The summit focused on key initiatives such as Economic Partnership Agreements, trade and investment promotion frameworks and support for the African Continental Free Trade Area.

During the summit held on June 4-5, 2024 in Ilsan and Seoul, South Korea announced plans to increase official development assistance to $10 billion by 2030 and provide $14 billion in export financing.

One of the highlights for Ghana was the signing of the concessionary $2 billion support agreement with South Korea, a major financial boost for its development aspirations of the country.

The funds are made up of 66 per cent grant, with the rest being highly concessionary with a long-term repayment period and a longer grace period before repayments begin. The Korea-Africa Summit was aimed to boost cooperation, address global challenges and promote collective strength for sustainable development.

The outcome is expected to lead to new agreements and investments in energy access, agricultural transformation and capacity-building across Africa. It is the first of its kind since the founding of the Republic of Korea.

However, there have been other summits and conferences between Korea and Africa, such as the 7th Korea-Africa Economic Cooperation (KOAFEC) Ministerial Conference in September 2023 and the Korea-Africa Energy Investment Framework (KAEIF) established in 2021.

Bilateral relations

Ghana and South Korea have had diplomatic relations since 1977. The two countries have cooperated on a wide range of issues, including political, economic, trade, investment, technology, security and culture.

The Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) has been undertaking many projects in Ghana, such as the Dawhenya Integrated Rural Development Project, a maternal and child healthcare project, a water and sanitation project, and a capacity-building project on power transmission system.

Dr Agyepong expressed optimism about the future of Korea-Africa relations, stating, "it looks bright, and I'm thrilled to be part of this transformative journey."

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