The Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Clem Agba, has led Nigeria’s delegation to Seoul, South Korea, for a week-long mission strategic dialogues with the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) and Korea-Africa Foundation (KAF).
The visit is intended to, among other purposes, forge new frontiers of cooperation between the two countries and deepen existing bilateral ties.
As a prelude to the series of meetings and dialogue sessions, Agba met the Nigerian Ambassador to South Korea, Ali Magashi, with other top officials in the Embassy, and discussed cross-cutting issues bordering on the status of the bilateral relations between Nigeria and South Korea.
Issues that featured during the discussions included outstanding Agreements such as the Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement; Labour; Avoidance of Double Taxation to be concluded to further boost the investment climate and the volume of trade of USD 2 billion in 2021 and the way forward.
The minister of state took the opportunity to shed light on Nigeria’s National Development Plan 2021- 2025 and the investment opportunities for the South Korean private investors in key sectors such as ‘Agriculture, Manufacturing, ICT, Oil and Gas (midstream) to accelerate the country’s economic growth that is already diversified.’
He urged the Ambassador to canvass for investments in the identified sectors in pursuance of Nigeria’s unwavering effort at ensuring and consolidating its concentric diversification of the national economy.
At the meeting with the President of the 5-year-old Korea-Africa Foundation, Mr Lyeo Woon-Ki, the Minister applauded the purpose of establishing the Foundation as an affiliate of the South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which is to, among other things, foster business and cultural cooperation between the country and African continent. It will also promote genuine partnerships in the political and academic spheres.
Agba said that “South Korea had a vibrant private sector and gave insight into the plan envisaged for the sector in the NDP 2021-2025 for investment in Nigeria.”
He allayed the fears expressed by the Foundation’s President regarding doing business in Nigeria and apprised him of the immigration and customs reforms in place and the country’s upward leap, by 20 points, in the ease of doing business ranking.
Agba also paid a courtesy visit to the Acting President of the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), Mr Youn-Young Lee.
As a grant aid provider under the South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Agba lauded the “excellent cordial relationship” between the Federal Government of Nigeria and KOICA since it began operations in 2008.
He thanked the President of the Republic of South Korea, His Excellency, Yoon Suk Yeol, the Government and the people of South Korea for the prestigious National Award of Diplomatic Service Merit (Heungin Medal) recently awarded to him in Abuja as the first recipient in Africa.
He acknowledged various KOICA-supported capacity-building training extended to the Nigerian government officials in several fields of human endeavours as well as technical cooperation.
The training, according to him, “covers short-term, long-term, Masters and Postgraduate scholarship programmes and in-country training programme.”
The Minister noted the future areas of cooperation mentioned by the KOICA President and confirmed their alignment with Nigeria’s priorities as encapsulated in the NDP 2021-2025.