Korea, Nigeria to Cooperate on Energy

More asians coming to the Nigerian table and offering money and cultural and education exchange (i.e. public diplomacy) to boot.

President Roh Moo-hyun and Nigerian President Olusegun ObasanjoThursday agreed to increase substantial economic cooperation between the two countries, especially in the field of energy and resources.

The two leaders also decided during their summit to closely cooperate in the information-technology (IT) sector.

Officials accompanying Roh on his visit to three African countries said South Korea will provide Nigeria with $200,000 worth of equipment and supplies to help prevent avian influenza.

Roh unveiled a package of aid programs in which South Korea will triple its financial assistance to the continent over the next three years.

Meeting over lunch with business leaders from Nigeria and South Korea at a hotel here, Roh said that Seoul will triple its Official Development Assistance bound for Africa by to some $10 billion by 2008.

He added the increased financial assistance would be used largely to support Africa's human resources development, and improve health.

In order to share its experience of economic development, the government will host some 1,000 Africans in the coming three years to share know-how acquired in the course of economic development.

"We will also try to devise innovative measures to secure financial resources to help Africa," Roh told the businessmen, reminding them of an airline tax proposed by French President Jacque Chirac to bankroll programs to fight poverty and disease.

Chirac has recently urged the international community to adopt an airline tax to raise financial resources to help Africa. Speaking at a two-day meeting in Paris last month, he said France planned to begin imposing the airline tax in July.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade officials traveling with Roh, said the government plans to launch a forum between South Korea and Africa later this year.

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