African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina has urged Korean businesses to capitalize on Africa’s untapped energy and agribusiness investment opportunities.
“Africa is a continent that investors cannot ignore,” Adesina told Korean CEOs, financial institution chiefs, ministers, and African business executives at a business summit.
The 7th Korea-Africa Economic Cooperation Ministerial Conference was held in Busan, Korea’s second-largest city.
According to Adesina, Africa could become a global market frontier with massive agribusiness and renewable energy opportunities.
Adesina promised Korean investors, “Africa is not as risky as you hear. It is a continent of untapped potential.”
According to Moody’s global infrastructure default rates examination, the region ranks better at 5.5% than Asia at 8.5% and Latin America at 13%.
The African Development Bank reduces private sector risks with partial risk and credit guarantees.
Adesina said Korea-Africa commerce was growing but needed to be increased.
Korean exports and imports to Africa were merely 2% of its global trade. He emphasized that Africa’s great economic and investment potential requires this to change.
CAdesina said consumer spending is expected to reach $2.5 trillion by 2030. The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), the world’s largest by country count, has a $3.5 trillion market. Africa is the biggest emerging market frontier, with 1.3 billion people, 600 million of whom are youthful, significant urbanization, and rising middle-class wages.
Adesina listed many promising areas, including energy and agriculture, which would reach $1 trillion by 2030. The bank and partners have spent over $1.5 billion in 11 countries, constructing special agro-industrial processing zones.
Adesina noted that Africa has the world’s largest solar energy potential, 11 TW, yet just 1% is used.
Only 7% of 350 GW of hydro, 2% of 115 GW of wind, and 2% of 15 GW of geothermal are exploited.
Byoung Hwan Kim, Korea’s 1st Vice President and Minister of Economy and Finance, acknowledged that African countries were growing faster despite global shocks at the summit.
Kim was confident that Africa had more investment potential than other continents. He stressed the private sector’s importance in opening these opportunities.
Kim remembered Korea was one of the poorest nations but overcame this by focusing on small enterprises and the private sector.
“We hope to share those experiences with our African counterparts,” he added. “We support the private sector to boost investment and provide guarantees tailored to private sector needs.”
Kim said the Korean government would collaborate with the African Development Bank to find possibilities and use the KOAFEC Trust Fund to boost private sector capacity.
The summit chose the African Continental Free cCommerceArea for commerce and investment.
According to the forum, Africa has strong investment potential in green metals that could drive global market growth in clean renewable energy technology, creating jobs, economic growth, and reducing fossil fuel dependence,
According to Adesina, Africa is ideal for lithium-ion and electric car battery production. The African growth bank and Korea inked two $28.6 million financial support agreements to boost Africa’s growth.