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Amb. Chraibi of Morocco, African envoys host function to mark Africa Day

Ambassador Mohammed Chraibi of Morocco in Seoul declared: “Today Africa is the continent of the future. Located at the strategic trade routes linking Asia to Europe, close to the main sources of energy in the Arabian Gulf and on the crossroads to the American Continent, Africa is home to one of the fastest growth rates in the world thanks to a plethora of factors.”

▲Photo shows, from left, Ambassadors Sheidu Omeiza Momoh of Nigeria (CDA), Dinberu A. Wisbo 9f Ethiopia (CDA), Carlos Victor Boungou of Gabon, Mumba Smyth Kapumpa of Zambia, Albino Malungo of Angola, Unidentified, Mohammed Chraibi of Morocco, Mamadou Ndiaye of Senegal, Mohamad Abdelaal of Sudan, Elizabeth Nicol of Ghana, Hany Moawad Selim Labib of Egypt, Nozuko Gloria Bam of South Africa, Emma-Francoise Isumbingabo of Rwanda, Sylvestre Kouassi Bile of Cote d'Ivoire. Standing in front of the platform is Ambassador Derragui Mohammed Elamine of Algeria.

Speaking at a reception hosted by him and other African ambassadors at the Imperial Palace Hotel in Seoul on May 25, 2016 on the occasion of the 53rd anniversary of Africa Day, Ambassador Chraibi stated, “The rising agricultural production offering better perspectives for food security, the export-oriented industrial manufacturing, the emergence of more integrated transport networks, the wide-spread access to technology, the ever-growing retail sector, the abundance of natural resources ranging from water to minerals to oil and gas along with the fast pace of democracy consolidation processes through fair and transparent elections and better and efficient governance mechanisms, are but a few examples of such incredible assets that make a huge difference in our Continent's march towards ensuring a better future for its peoples.” (See excerpts at the end of this article.)
There were an estimated total of nearly 300 Korean and international dignitaries attending the party, who included Deputy Minister Kim Hyoung-zhin for Political Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Chairman Cho Hae-hyeong of Nara On behalf of the Group of African Ambassadors in Seoul, I would like to seize this opportunity to extend our most sincere gratitude to the Korean Government and to all our guests who accepted so kindly to come share with us the celebration of the 53rd anniversary of Africa Day.
The celebration of Africa day offers indeed a sober moment to rejoice the achievements that have been made on the long road of entrenching democratic political systems, reinforcing the rule of law and embarking on mega-projects conducive to economic development and shared prosperity. It is also a moment to ponder on the best approaches liable to lead our efforts to turn challenges into opportunities and make the best of Africa's enormous potential.
It is safe to say today that Africa is indeed the continent of the future. Located at the strategic trade routes linking Asia to Europe, close to the main sources of energy in the Arabian Gulf and on the crossroads to the American Continent, Africa is home to one of the fastest growth rates in the world thanks to a plethora of factors.

▲Sweets and various other traditional goods from Ghana

The rising agricultural production offering better perspectives for food security, the export-oriented industrial manufacturing, the emergence of more integrated transport networks, the wide-spread access to technology, the ever-growing retail sector, the abundance of natural resources ranging from water to minerals to oil and gas along with the fast pace of democracy consolidation processes through fair and transparent elections and better and efficient governance mechanisms, are but a few examples of such incredible assets that make a huge difference in our Continent's march towards ensuring a better future for its peoples.
Despite this huge potential, Africa is still one of the most underinvested continents in our globalized world. Today, Africa does not need assistance or humanitarian aid so much as mutually profitable economic partnerships, social development projects, transfer of technology and investment in the human capital. The flow of foreign direct investments to the Continent will allow for sustained economic growth, job-creation, diversification of productive activities, enhancement of international competitiveness and increase in export-oriented industries.
The efforts exerted by African nations to capitalize on continental goals of achieving inclusive economic cooperation and integration are being reinforced by the emergence of vivid civil societies, including associations of women, youth and the independent media, who are occupying more spaces in the decision-making process, consolidating thus the gains of mutual interdependence and fostering the collective agenda of shared economic prosperity.

▲Silverware and various art objects of Tunisia.

Most African countries look at Korea as a perfect example of how a nation suffering from the scourge of war and poverty could turn itself, in a relatively short time, into a global economic power. Such an inspiring experience is what African needs to learn to make their development plans more creative and able to meet the expectations of its young and energetic population. This is why we want to see the Korean business community more involved in exploring the huge investment potential in Africa in such a variety of rewarding sectors such as agro-processing, ICTs, infrastructure, energy, industrial production, manufacturing and services.
Given the mounting profile of our bilateral and collective cooperation with Korea, African countries believe that there is a need today to see a sustained flow of Korean investments to our Continent to strengthen our economic growth and contribute to the achievement of our development goals.
Such a commitment on the part of Korean corporations and financial institutions to trust in the potential of Africa as a Continent on the rise shall serve a double objective: it would confirm the role of Korea as a bridge between the developed world and the nations that aspire to ensure a better future for their peoples and it would encourage more flow of investment and further international openness to the Continent. We are thus hopeful to see Korea assume this role of a catalyser of economic opportunity and engine of sustainable development initiatives in Africa.

▲Wine and various traditional dolls and vessels from South Africa.

이경식 기자  edt@koreapost.com

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