China has billion-dollar trade relationships with many African countries, but their close neighbour South Korea is comparatively underrepresented on the continent. In the latest Opportunité Africa podcast, Brendon Jones speaks to Seoul-based attorney Tim Dickens, a partner at DR & AJU International Law Group and the chairman of the South African Chamber of Commerce in Korea. Tim unpacks Korea’s historical hesitancy to invest in Africa and explains why the time is right to change that.
‘Korean businesses are leaders in major industries like power generation, telecoms, mobile, medical technology and transport – household names like Daewoo, LG, Samsung, KIA, Hyundai and many more,’ he says.
‘Historically, there’s been a perception that African countries are too geographically distant and too politically volatile to be worthwhile trading partners. But the world is changing. Korea can’t ignore the economic potential of Africa’s population explosion. They can also offer African countries a blueprint for success – Korea was broken after the Korean War and now they’re a leading world economy. Korean companies have so much to offer when it comes to infrastructure development for smart cities that haven’t been built yet. At the same time, Korea needs resources, which Africa can provide. There are huge opportunities for all parties.’
‘As geopolitical issues complicate Korea’s relationships with key trading partners like China and the US, they have to look to Africa. Africa must be Korea’s focus for at least the next 40 years.’
Listen to the full interview and subscribe to the podcast.