Ahead of proposed 40th year anniversary of relations between Korea and Nigeria, Korean Ambassador LEE In-Tae, has beckoned on Africa’s most populous nation to deepen concern on infrastructure development.
In-Tae who spoke during the opening session of Korea-Nigeria Joint Partnership Infrastructure Seminar which held in Abuja on Thursday, said that any country’s economic status was strongly dependent on its level of infrastructural value system.
According to the Envoy, Nigeria would experience economic growth like no other African nation if its infrastructure becomes world-class, and that the people would benefit enormously.
His words, “Korea owes its economic growth in large part to the development of its infrastructure. However, our infrastructure would not have been possible without the help of Korean construction companies. And now these Korean companies have become the best in the world and are eager to invest in Nigeria.
“Nigeria is the biggest economy with the biggest population in Africa. It is also the top oil producer of this continent.
“And now, Nigeria is part of the African Continental Free Trade Area(AfCFTA) Agreement, which will create a single market of 1.2 billion people with a GDP of 3.4 trillion US Dollars. Thus, Nigeria is, and will continue to be, Korea’s most important trading partner in Africa.
“Since Korea and Nigeria established diplomatic relations in 1980, our relationship has grown rapidly especially in the area of economic cooperation.
“Our trade volume in 2018 was two billion US dollars. This is a huge figure, considering that Nigeria’s GDP per capita in 2018 was about 2,050 US dollars. In other words, our trade volume was equal to GDP of nearly one million Nigerians.
“I know this is an impressive figure, but we can be more ambitious. As Korean Ambassador, I would like to see this number grow much bigger. Nigeria is a country full of economic potential, and we must seize this opportunity to expand our economic cooperation. We must also work together to build Nigeria’s infrastructure.
“In addition, if Korean companies can help build Nigeria’s infrastructure, Korean companies will also contribute to the success of President Buhari’s efforts to achieve his Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.”
He also spoke of upcoming 40th anniversary of Korea-Nigeria diplomatic relations in 2020.
On his part, a representative of the federal government and Minister of state Power, Prince Jeddy Agba, who one of keynote speakers expressed optimism that with steady and time-tested investment, Nigeria’s infrastructural deficit would be reduced.
Prince Agba noted that already the present administration is making concerted effort in ensuring that funds are appropriately deployed even as it expands its partnership drive to willing investors.