Mr Kim Young-Chae, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Nigeria, made this known on Thursday in Abuja while briefing newsmen on the trade, bilateral, political and cultural relations between both countries, as well as possible areas to advance cooperation.
Commending on the strong ties between Nigeria and South Korea across all areas, Kim said that both countries recorded a boost with an almost balanced trade volume.
Kim said that both countries recorded increase in trade, in spite of the COVID-19 Pandemic, and expressed optimism for further improvement as the world gradually returned to normalcy.
“In 2021, trade figures reached two billion dollars, after a 50 per cent increase, compared with the previous years; 2021 was a huge boost in our bilateral trade, in spite of the COVID pandemic.
“So it is my intention that our bilateral trade continues to rise and at the end of the day, I want to see Nigeria become Korea’s largest trading partner in Africa.
“Nigeria is the biggest economy in Africa, so she should be our biggest trading partner.
“The trade volume is almost balance, your export volume and Korea’s export volume are almost equal,” Kim said.
Kim noted that as much as oil and gas was South Korea’s major import from Nigeria, he would want Nigeria to increase exports in other areas, especially agriculture.
The Ambassador said that it was important for Nigerian businesses to study the Korean market and customers to know what they really wanted, so that they could diversify export products.
Kim pledged his commitment to creating foras that could brink Nigerian and Korean businesses together for more fruitful deals.
“Our export is mostly manufacturing goods, but last year, plastics and aluminium were areas that we saw huge increase.
“We imported a lot of Nigerian gas, but in order to further increase bilateral trade, -oil and gas is very important -we want to see some agricultural products and manufacturing goods.
“In order to penetrate the foreign market we need to engage in terms of research. I hope more Nigerian companies study Korean market, Korean customers.
“We import a lot of sesame seeds and I know Nigeria produces a lot of sesame seed, so there is a huge potential for the market when Nigeria exports sesame seeds, sesame oil, there are great potentials.
“That is why we try to match-make so that they need to know each other more. My job is to facilitate meetings so that companies make deals,” Kim said.
On the bilateral and political relations between both countries, Kim said that Nigeria and Korea had strong ties and both governments had continued to create such ties.
“In 2021, we had a Joint Bilateral Commission and the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Zubairu Dada visited Korea, and met with his counterpart; the Joint Commission is highest level of bilateral engagement.
“This year, we are going to see high level exchange of visits, several top Nigerian government officials and businessmen have indicated interest to visit,” Kim said.
On people-to-people relations, Kim said that as the ambassador, he was levering on all opportunities to promote cultural exchanges, especially with institutions.
He said that the Embassy recently held an exhibition in collaboration with the Nike Art Gallery to showcase the Korean culture.
Kim said that the Embassy also signed an MoU with the University of Abuja, where Korean Language and culture could be taught to enable Nigerians have more knowledge on South Korea.
The Ambassador also pledged to increase engagements across other Nigerian states to foster the already strong and friendly relations between both countries.