Zim, South Korea deepen economic ties

Zimbabwe and South Korea plan to deepen economic cooperation after the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that seeks boost trade between the two countries.
The MoU, which was signed between Zimbabweʼs premier trade promotion body, ZimTrade, and the Korea
Trade Investment Promotion Agency (Kotra), seeks to enhance mutual cooperation and collaboration in capacity building, export development and investment.
South Koreaʼs Trade, Industry and Energy Minister Dukgeun Ahn yesterday met with Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister, Ambassador Frederick Shava, before the signing of the MoU.
He said his country would strive to align its cooperation agenda with Zimbabweʼs Vision 2030.
“The Korean industry has shown strong interest in developing a strong partnership with Zimbabwe,” said Mr Ahn.
“Our industry sector will work with you to strengthen your industry ecosystem and the supply chain and the industry development.”
Mr Ahn said South Koreaʼs experience of liberation from illegal occupation and a devastating internal war was similar to Zimbabweʼs experiences and as such, Korean businesses understood the local business situation fully well and were keen to share ways they had adopted to overcome.
“Our industry sector understands what it takes to develop from the very beginning stage of industrialisation to become an upper middle level income country as envisioned in Vision 2030,” said Minister Ahn.
Zimbabwe, said Mr Ahn, was the first African country he had visited as the Asian country sought to increase its presence on the continent.
Mr Ahn praised Zimbabweʼs support for South Koreaʼs bid to host the 2030 World Expo in Busan, and their vision to transform the world.
On his part, Ambassador Shava acknowledged the existence of diplomatic relations between Zimbabwe and South Korea dating back to 1994, which were cemented by excellent technical, economic cooperation and bilateral relations.
“I wish to highlight that Zimbabwe is on a drive to promote trade and investment opportunities,” he said.
“In that regard, I urge industry from the Republic of Korea to tap into the opportunities that exist in relation to the agricultural, mining and rail sectors.
“Abundant opportunities for enhanced cooperation also exist in the tourism sector, and as such, future focus also needs to be driven towards this billion-dollar industry.”
Ambassador Shava commended the efforts made by ZimTrade and Kotra towards concluding the MoU.
The scope of the agreement, he said, sought to facilitate collaboration and cooperation on matters of common interest and to establish working arrangements necessary for the implementation of the MoU.
“It is my fervent hope that the action plan of activities of common interest such as exchange visits, capacity building, export development and promotion activities, would be jointly implemented after the signature of the MoU,” said Ambassador Shava.
“I will actively encourage ZimTrade to waste no time and do its part to hit the ground running. That way, we can ensure timely implementation and outputs delivery for the benefit of our two organisations and their membership.”
Kotra regional general director, Ms Myunghee Kim, said the South Korean industry was ready to help Zimbabwean companies increase trade with companies in the Asian country.
“This is the first step, so we will share the market information and when the Zimbabwean delegation comes to visit, then we can support the matchmaking and find the right companies for trade and investment,” she said.
South Korea, said Ms Kim, would participate in the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) next year with some of their companies that are interested in the local market.
Yesterday, at least four companies expressed their intention to invest in the fields of horticulture, capacity development, and renewable energy, among others, a development that will increase South Korean companiesʼ footprint in the local market.
The companies include Hyundai Motors, Hyundai Corporation, Doosan Energy and KOPIA.
ZimTrade director operations, Mr Similo Nkala, said Zimbabwe exported products worth US$10,4 million to South Korea last year, and increased cooperation was expected to increase the exports.
“These exports to Korea were mostly tobacco and works of art,” he said. “So, we are looking to make sure that we increase the export of value added products as espoused in the NDS1 (National Development Strategy 1) as well as the National Trade Policy.
“With the advanced technology that Korea has, there should be some match-making or business to business linkages between Zimbabwean enterprises and the Korean enterprises so that we can take advantage of the technology that they have to further value add our products and move up the value chain.”
ZimTrade is looking into new markets, including South Korea, and there is scope to expand exports to include horticulture products and essential oils.
A delegation of Zimbabwean companies is expected to attend the Cosmo Beauty Show at a fair in Seoul, South Korea, later this month and will showcase baobab and amarula essential oils. Said Mr Nkala: “We believe there is a great market in terms of essential oils in Korea so we hope the participating companies will be able to penetrate and also expand in that market. We also want to use Korea as a springboard to other countries that are neighbouring it.” Herald

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