South Korean Ambassador to Egypt, Ambassador KIM Yonghyon, said that Egypt is a strategic partner for South Korea in Africa and a key destination for its investments.
He made these remarks at the celebration of South Korea’s national day, which coincides with the Armed Forces Day on 1 October. He said that this day marks the foundation of the first Korean nation 4,356 years ago, and gives Koreans a sense of national identity and pride.
“Today, we Koreans call it ‘Gae-Chon-Jol’ which literally means “celebration of the day when Heaven was opened”. The first Korean nation was built on this day some 4,356 years ago. So, today, we are celebrating the 4,356th anniversary of the foundation of our nation. This gives us Koreans the most important sense of national identity as a distinct people and a source of immense pride,” said the Ambassador.
He also said that this was his first national day reception in Cairo since he arrived four months ago. He expressed his gratitude to the Egyptian government and people, the Korean community, and his fellow ambassadors for their warm welcome and friendship.
“On a personal note, this evening is the first National Day reception that I host in Cairo. Four months have passed since my arrival in this wonderful country. Let me take this opportunity to convey my heartfelt gratitude to the Egyptian government and people, Korean community as well as fellow ambassadors for their warm welcome, friendship and invaluable guidance. I am truly humbled and immensely grateful for that,” he added.
Ambassador KIM said that South Korea and Egypt have developed their comprehensive cooperative partnership since President Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi’s visit to Korea in 2016. He said that the bilateral trade volume reached $3.2bn last year, and that a joint expert study will be soon launched to discuss the possibility of establishing a bilateral trade regime.
He added that South Korea’s investment in Egypt has reached $800m with 34 major companies operating in Egypt, creating thousands of quality jobs for Egyptians. He mentioned Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics as examples of successful Korean companies that produce ‘Made in Egypt’ products and export them to dozens of countries.
He also said that South Korea and Egypt are cooperating in various important national projects, such as the nuclear power plant in El Dabaa, the Cairo Metro trains, and the Suez Canal’s ‘Green Canal Project’. He said that these projects reflect South Korea’s commitment to support Egypt’s economic development and green transition.
“Korean companies such as Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power (KHNP) and Doosan Enerbility, are participating in the construction of Egypt’s first nuclear power plant in El Dabaa. Hyundai Rotem, which has provided the Cairo Metro with high-quality trains since 2012, and will supply 40 more Metro trains. The trains will be manufactured here in Egypt by Egyptian workers in partnership with an Egyptian company. The factory is being built at the East Port Said Economic Zone, which I visited last month,” said the Ambassador.
Minister of Finance Mohamed Maait said that the Egyptian-Korean relations have witnessed major positive developments in recent years, marked by several milestones that contributed to their growth. He cited the historic visit of President Al-Sisi to the Republic of Korea in March 2016, which elevated the two countries’ relations to the level of “comprehensive strategic partnership” and led to the signing of many agreements and MOUs.
He also mentioned the visit of President Moon Jae-in of the Republic of Korea to Egypt in January 2022, which was the first visit of a Korean President to Egypt in 16 years. He said that this visit had a great impact on strengthening economic ties, promoting investments, trade exchange, technical cooperation, as well as political coordination and alignment on current regional and global issues.
“We are grateful for the decision of the Republic of Korea to consider Egypt as ODA priority partner country in the MENA region for the years 2021-2025. This decision reflects the depth of our relations and our mutual desire to continue our development cooperation,” the Minister said.
The Minister stressed that these efforts and continuous contacts between officials in both countries have yielded positive results.
The Minister revealed that the trade volume in 2022 exceeded $3bn, of which $1.7bn were Egyptian exports, which was a significant increase over previous years thanks to the rise in Egyptian natural gas exports.
“Egypt’s exports to South Korea exceeded $240m during the first quarter of this year (2023),” the Minister said.
“On the other hand, Korean investments in Egypt reached more than $700m in 180 companies, mostly in vital industrial sectors. These are successful models that serve the interests of both sides and encourage more Korean investors to come to Egypt,” the Minister said.
“We look forward to doubling Korean investments, benefiting from the favorable conditions that attract investments in Egypt as a result of the great steps that have been taken to facilitate investors, especially in the fields of infrastructure projects, urban developments, and the localization of advanced industries, electric car manufacturing sector, clean transportation, and renewable energy. At the same time, we welcome the increasing numbers of Korean tourists to Egypt, and we hope to see more of them and more Korean investments in the tourism sector in Egypt,” he concluded.