Ambassador of South Korea to Egypt, Hong Jin Wook, paid a visit to Aswan from 7 to 9 February to explore possible cooperation in Upper Egypt within the framework of the Egyptian government’s development plan.
During his visit, Ambassador Hong met with the Governor of Aswan, Ashraf Attia Abdel Bari, to discuss ways of cooperation in the fields of energy, transportation, education, and culture. He also visited the Benban solar complex and Aswan High Dam.
During the meeting, Hong emphasized his country’s willingness to support the “Decent Life” initiative, which aims at developing rural areas nationwide.
Hong and Abdel Bari agreed to cooperate in new and renewable energy projects, especially that Aswan has one of the world’s largest solar complexes, and there is a growing interest in this field.
He noted that the Korean government’s choosing Egypt as a priority partner for official development assistance for 2021-2025, gives an opportunity to increase cooperation in Aswan. He considered the Luxor-High Dam railway modernization agreement (worth $310m) – which was signed during President Moon Jae-in’s visit to Cairo last January –as a good starting point for further cooperation.
Hong expects the project to contribute to developing the railway infrastructure and improving the transportation network between Aswan and other governorates. This would revitalise the tourism sector and improve the life quality of citizens.
He expressed his hope to increase cooperation with Aswan in the field of green industries, highlighting the Korean-Egyptian round table for future and green industries which was held last January in the presence of the Korean President and the Egyptian Prime Minister.
Hong added that the “environment and energy” are one of the main pillars for Korea’s future cooperation with Egypt, expecting more opportunities for joint cooperation in the field of green transformation to be realized in the future.
Ambassador pointed to the possibility of implementing joint projects with the governorate, benefiting from the finance available through the Korean Economic Development Cooperation Fund worth one billion dollars, which was concluded during the visit of the Korean President to Egypt last month, as well as the joint financing for renewable energy projects worth 600 million dollars available through the Export-Import Bank Korea in cooperation with the African Development Bank.
On his part, Abdel Bari expressed his aspiration to enhance cooperation with Korea in the field of education through the Department of Korean Language at Aswan University, as well as cooperation in the energy and infrastructure sector.
Ambassador Hong shared the same view with the governor, noting that many Korean companies look forward to entering the Egyptian market and consider Egypt an attractive investment destination. He added that this will lead to an increase in the number of Egyptians interested in learning the Korean language.
Ambassador Hong pledged to continue supporting the Korean Language Department at Aswan University by dispatching volunteers from the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), stressing that mutual understanding and people to people exchange are the base for the two countries’ bilateral relations.
Ambassador Hong suggested expanding the scope of cooperation between Korea and Aswan Governorate to include the field of cultural heritage. He pointed out that a memorandum of understanding on cooperation in the field of cultural heritage between the two countries was recently signed between the Cultural Heritage Administration of Korea and the Supreme Council of Antiquities in Egypt, which includes cooperation in the restoration and development of antiquities as well as Public and Academic Exchange.
He expected that cooperative projects in the field of cultural heritage will allow the governorate to take advantage of Korea’s advanced technology in the restoration and preservation of the diverse cultural heritage in Aswan.
After the meeting, Ambassador Hong visited the High Dam in Aswan which is also used for generating hydroelectric power. The ambassador praised the efforts exerted by the Egyptian government to maximize resources.
He expressed his confidence in Egypt’s success in hosting the 27th Conference of the Parties (COP 27) this year.