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The African Development Forum Webinar on Korea-Africa Cooperation

14 May, 2021 KDIS News Center 1,288

On Friday the 7th of May, the African Development Forum (ADF), held its first event of the year, under the theme Opportunities and challenges for Korea-Africa cooperation in the age of Covid-19. ADF is one of the KDI School’s six forums that seeks to bring together students, who depending on their area of origin and interest, meet to hold discussions and hold talks on different facets of the development world. The ADF in particular, is a platform that brings together Africans at the school and any other national interested in African affairs to discuss and offer policy prescriptions to some of the issues that affect the African continent.

For this event, the ADF partnered with the Korean Embassy in Kenya to explore the Korea-Africa relations, and some of the opportunities that Korea and African countries could leverage to improve their relationship now and in the future. The forum commenced with opening remarks from the Korean Ambassador to Kenya H.E Choi Yeonghan, and later by the KDI School Dean, Prof. You, Jong-Il. The Dean acknowledged the role that student forums at KDI School have taken in shaping key discussions in the development space. He was in full praise of the African Development Forum for being one of the most active student forums in the school and for organizing such an important event.

The first session looked at what Korea has done to control Covid-19 and also the steps that it had taken to cushion itself against economic shocks presented by Covid-19. The essence of this session was to offer policy suggestions that African countries could consider borrowing for their own adjustment and mitigation measures. Come the second session, the panelists explored the Korea-Africa relations with regards to how COVID-19 had interfered with the day to day operations that made up these relations. Speaking of opportunities, there was emphasis on the need for Korea to partner with African countries in terms of the investment and use of digital technology. Also, Korea was encouraged to take advantage of the newly formed African Continental Free Trade Area. Ms. Florencia Chimwemwe Mtingwi, a KDIS student was one of the session’s presenters.

The third and final session had two African students living in Korea sharing their studying and working experiences before and after COVID-19, and also laying out the challenges and opportunities that had emerged from this context. Their messages were targeted at people in Africa who might have probably been planning to visit Korea to study, work or do business and wanted to get a glimpse of how COVID-19 was dictating daily life. Mr. Nicholas Odongo, MPP class of 2018 and now a PhD student at Korea University gave a presentation in this session.

The webinar, which took place over two hours was attended by KDI School students, the African Development Forum members, alumni and other participants. The atmosphere was vibrant and unusually active as seen by the sheer amount of questions and contributions in the Q&A section of the zoom session.