South Korea-Africa Summit: A New Dawn in Bilateral Relations

South Korea Africa Summit
A moment during the South Korea-Africa Summit (Credits: Eritrea Ministry of Information)

Geopolitical Report ISSN 2785-2598 Volume 43 Issue 2
SpecialEurasia OSINT Unit

Executive Summary

The inaugural South Korea-Africa Summit, held on June 5-6, 2024, near Seoul, marks a historic shift in the economic and trade relations between South Korea and Africa.

Bringing together 48 African delegations, including 25 heads of state or government, the summit aimed to redefine the scope of bilateral engagements. Key initiatives include a substantial increase in development aid and investment funds, focusing on shared growth, sustainability, and solidarity.

The summit also introduced a platform for dialogue on critical minerals, highlighting mutual interests in technological collaboration and resource stability.

This report analyses the key findings, implications, and conclusions from the summit.

Key Findings

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, who announced a $24 billion package for Africa, made a significant financial commitment. This includes $10 billion allocated for development aid and $14 billion intended for investment by South Korean companies.

During the summit, the participants forged a substantial number of agreements, signing 47 bilateral agreements and 23 memorandums of understanding in sectors such as manufacturing, mining, infrastructure, and energy.

One of the most notable developments was the establishment of the “Korea-Africa Dialogue on Critical Minerals.” This platform aims to ensure stable supplies of essential resources for energy transition technologies and to promote technological collaboration.

Seoul has adopted a strategic approach that centres around backing Africa’s infrastructural and industrial advancements, to acquire access to crucial minerals like cobalt, nickel, graphite, and lithium, which hold great significance for the semiconductor and automotive industries.

The summit also drew upon historical and rhetorical parallels, emphasising South Korea’s own development journey from poverty to economic prosperity as a model for African nations. The focal point of this narrative was on the shared experiences of colonialism and the interdependence on international aid, which underscored the potential for mutual progress and cooperation.

Africa’s Mineral Market

The African continent holds a dominant position in the global mineral market, boasting approximately 30% of the world’s known reserves. This abundance encompasses a wide range of minerals, including gold, diamonds, cobalt, and copper.

Several African nations, such as the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Africa, have emerged as significant producers, attracting substantial foreign investment, particularly from China.

In order to boost trade, different trade blocs have been created, such as the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which aims to enhance mineral exports by minimising regional obstacles and promoting the growth of strong value chains.

However, maximising the economic benefits derived from this resource wealth requires a strategic shift beyond mere primary extraction. African nations increasingly recognise the importance of value addition through domestic processing and manufacturing. This diversification mitigates vulnerability to volatile commodity prices and fosters long-term economic growth by creating high-value products and skilled workforces.


The results of the South Korea-Africa Summit have important consequences for future diplomatic and economic interactions between the parties. The considerable financial commitments and extensive agreements indicate a stronger economic integration, which may cause a boost in trade and investment flows.

South Korea recognises the strategic significance of critical minerals and has established a dialogue platform to have exclusive access to them. This reflects their crucial role in driving the country’s economy, particularly in the semiconductor and automotive sectors.

The increase in development aid and investment could spur infrastructural and industrial growth in Africa, contributing to economic diversification and poverty alleviation.

The summit reinforces South Korea’s role as a key player in the global competition for Africa’s resources, aligning its interests with those of African countries in a mutually beneficial framework.

However, critics have raised concerns about these engagements, questioning the perceived paternalism in summoning African leaders to foreign capitals. This aspect underscores the need to ensure that these partnerships are fair and genuinely beneficial for all parties involved.


The South Korea-Africa Summit might enhance Seoul’s position on the continent and confirms South Korean interests in strategic markts (i.e. Seoul is also active in Central Asia because of the region’s role in the Eurasian geopolitics).

Should South Korean presence in Africa expand, Seoul has the potential to become a major player in the region, posing a challenge to China’s economic foothold in African nations.

On the one hand, African countries could reap the rewards of Seoul’s investments and help in developing regional infrastructure. Conversely, these countries risk relying on external actors who may exploit the continent’s mineral resources for financial support.

This aspect underscores the need to ensure that these partnerships are fair and genuinely beneficial for all parties involved.

If you require additional information, reports, or consulting regarding Africa and foreign countries’ investment strategies and foreign policies in the continent, please do not hesitate to contact us at  

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