In October 2022, Nigeria’s leader, His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari was in Korea for a state visit during which, he held bilateral summit with his Korean counterpart, President Yoon Suk-yeol where both leaders agreed to strengthen cooperation for both countries.
Also, he met with the Speaker of Korean National Assembly, President Buhari delivered an address at First World Bio Conference that held in Seoul, Korea; held meeting with former United Nations Secretary General, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon; meeting with African Ambassadors accredited to Korea as well as meeting with Captains of industry in Korea and Nigerians living in Korea amongst other engagements.
The Republic of Korea Embassy in Nigeria organized a media parley to brief the media on the outcome of President Buhari’s visit to Korea. According to the Korean Ambassador to Nigeria, His Excellency, Kim Young-chae, the visit will deepen Korea-Nigeria diplomatic relations as well as open investment opportunities between the two countries.
Korea Post’s special correspondent, Emman Ozoemena in Abuja, Nigeria captured key highlights of the visit in this article.
New Dawn in Korea/Nigeria Relations
The Republic of Korea and Nigeria are strategic partners with strong diplomatic ties and bilateral economic, political, education and cultural cooperation that is growing exponentially with high prospects for growth and development for the two countries.
The recent state visit by the Nigerian leader, His Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari to Seoul, South Korea on the invitation of his Republic of Korea counterpart, His Excellency, President Yoon Suk-yeol is a demonstration of this growing partnership between Korea and Nigeria.
During the summit, the two leaders agreed to strengthen bilateral on economic cooperation, political cooperation, defence cooperation, and cultural cooperation.
President Buhari’s visit to South Korea from October 24 to 27, 2022 has been described by many Analysts as a huge step towards consolidating the evolving partnership between Korea and Nigeria across all sectors and will boost the economic cooperation of the two nations in the long run.
The visit of President Buhari, further strengthened ties between Korea and Nigeria cutting different sectors including but not limited to trade, economic, technology, natural resources, education and cultural exchange as both leaders held bilateral Summit to exchanged ideas on deepening existing ties.
Expectedly, many expressed optimism that this visit by the Nigerian leader offered Korea and Nigeria opportunities for further investments and strengthen cooperation leading to positive outcomes in economic, trade, political, technology, education and cultural spheres.
Assessing President Buhari’s Visit to Korea
The Embassy of Republic of Korea in Abuja, Nigeria at a post-visit media briefing highlighted positive outcomes and takeaways from visit of President Buhari during 4-day state visit to South Korea in October 2022. The Republic of Korea Ambassador to Nigeria, His Excellency, Kim Young-chae, said it was a historical visit for Nigeria’s President Buhari to visit the Republic of Korea for the first time during his presidency. Also, for Korea’s leader, President Suk-yeol, it is his first time meeting with President Buhari since his election as President.
The Ambassador also noted that the visit of President Muhammadu Buhari provides more opportunities for consolidating Korea-Nigeria relations with collaborations in economic cooperation, increased investments, technology and education.
Ambassador Young-chae asserts the visit will tremendously foster more trade, investment and economic cooperation between Korea and Nigeria, as well as engender closer ties for both countries.
The Ambassador said the visit was a huge success, noting that during the visit President Buhari undertook activities that will result in more investments by Korean businesses in Nigeria across all sectors.
Korea and Nigeria Bilateral Summit
During the visit there was a Bilateral Summit between Nigeria’s President Buhari with his host the Korean leader, President Yoon Suk-Yeol at the President Office, Seoul, Korea.
The two leaders discussed issues of mutual benefits to the two countries including political cooperation; economic cooperation, defence cooperation, cultural cooperation with Nigeria as a Soft power using its influential Nollywood brand
Additionally, he revealed that both leaders pledged to further strengthen relations between their countries, as well as enhance more co-operations in critical areas sectors to advance economic and political development for Korea and Nigeria.
Conversely, there was a meeting between Korean Foreign Affairs Minister, His Excellency, Park Jin and his Nigerian counterpart, His Excellency, Geoffrey Onyeama to discuss issues of common interests for both countries. The two ministers had fruitful discussion as agreed to form a common on several issues that will advance the development of the two countries and resolved to work together towards Korea and Nigeria’s mutual benefits.
In the same vein, President Buhari also meet with the Speaker of Korean National Assembly, where both look at ways to strengthening existing ties through favourable legislations.
First World Bio Summit
As part of his official engagements during the visit, President Buhari addressed the First World Bio Summit 2022, jointly organized by the government of Republic of Korea and the World Health Organization (WHO) on October 25 2022 with the theme: “The future of Vaccine and Bio-Health”.
The summit attracted world leaders, chief executive officers of global vaccine and biologics companies aimed at exchanging knowledge on innovations and solutions on global health and development in in bio-industry.
Meeting with formers Ban Kim-Moon, Former UN Secretary General
Additionally, President Buhari had meeting with former United Nations Secretary General Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, the founder of Ban Ki-Moon Foundation for Better Future, a leading non-profit working across the globe. The Nigerian leader also had meeting with African Ambassadors accredited to South Korea to discuss issues of common interests to African continent.
Daewoo ENC and NNPC Partnership
NNPC Also during the visit, President Buhari had meeting with Korean business leaders including, CEOs of Samsung Heavy Industry and Daewoo ENC. He witnessed the signing event of Letter of Intent (LOI) between Nigeria’s public oil entity, Nigeria National Petroleum Company Ltd. NNPC, and Daewoo ENC over the anticipated quick fix of Kaduna Refinery and Petrochemical Company.
Both Buhari and Korean leader witnessed the signing ceremony of Daewoo and NNPC Ltd. Planned quick turnaround of the Kaduna Refinery and Petrochemical Company which was recently awarded to Daewoo ENC.
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Silva was among Nigerian officials that witnessed the event, others include NNPC Group Managing Director, Mele Kolo Kyari and Daewoo CEO, Kim Hyung signed the contract on behalf of their companies.
The visit of President Buhari to South Korea will further consolidate the relations between Korea and Nigeria, the biggest economy in Africa. This is a significant steps in the effort towards advancing greater economic, political and cultural cooperation between both nations.
The Nigerian leader was accompanied on the visit by government officials including, Aminu Bello Masari and Abubakar Sani Bello, governors of Katsina and Niger states; Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, Minister of Health, and Mr. Adeniyi Adebayo, Ministers of Industry, Trade and Investment and Mr. Timipre Sylva, Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, among others.
As the Korean Ambassador to Nigeria asserts, the impact of the visit of Nigerian leader, President Buhari to Korea will result in increased investment in the near future, more collaborations in other sectors.
Korea companies in Nigeria are playing key role in petrochemical, ship building, manufacturing, and electronics, among others.