Nigeria and South Korea have signed an MoU to partner in the public health sector, and in particular facilitate training of Nigerians in vaccine production.
The partnership stems from World Health Organization’s (WHO) designation of the Nigeria as a regional hub for vaccine production, and South Korea as WHO’s global training hub.
Speaking at a press briefing in Abuja, Korean Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Kim Young-chae, described President Muhammadu Buhari’s official visit to Korea in October and his attendance of the maiden World Bio Summit in Korea as timely for both countries cooperation in vaccine and bio industry.
Korea signed an MoU with the National Center for Disease Control (NCDC) Nigeria, to cooperate with the agency to facilitate training of Nigerian officials.
Mr Young-chae said that South Korea has begun training of Nigerian public health officials in vaccine production since July 2022, and will continue successively for some years.
“Korea is looking at partnership with Nigeria by way of training on vaccine production.
“We already signed an MOU; and some Nigerians have visited Korea for a training on vaccines production, around July 2022 where ten Nigerian officials were trained.
“It is going to be a continuous process. It will continue this year, next year and the following years. We have an already established and concrete plans to facilitate a training programme.”
“As a follow up measure, we will consult with the Nigerian health authorities on how to expand our cooperation on public health.”
Meantime, the ambassador said the year 2022 has seen a 20 percent increase in the volume of trade between South Korea and Nigeria.
A welcome development compared to last year’s which saw a dip in trade volume owing to impact and continued effects of the COVID 19 pandemic.
He has however set his sights on expanding further trade relations between both countries.
As Korea positions itself to become a pivotal nation in global affairs as part of its new foreign policy, it aims to partner with Nigeria within the Africa Continental Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) in the area of manufacturing and production to position Nigeria as a gateway for trading imports and exports in Africa.
President Buhari’s visit to Korea is the first of its kind in the past decade. His visit focused largely on manufacturing as he met with captains of Korean industry, including CEOs of Samsung Heavy industry and Daewoo ENC, and urging Korean companies to invest in Nigeria’s manufacturing sector.
“Some Korean companies expressed interest in investing in Nigeria, particularly manufacturing. Korea is a world class competitor in manufacturing.
“Korea is strong in automobile, ship building, petrochemicals, machineries, semiconductors production. I think President Buhari’s approach to manufacturing is apt, as it will create jobs,” said Young-chae.
However, for Korean businesses to invest in Nigeria, it will require a conducive atmosphere hence a review of the still pending discussions between both countries on Nigeria’s double taxation policy.
The policy, Mr Young-chae said is a complex one involving many factors beyond bilateral relations between both countries that Nigeria should address.
“We expressed the importance of having more Korean businesses in Nigeria, which President Buhari took note of, and I expect Nigeria will work on speeding up the process to address the double taxation on foreign businesses.
“It is not a simple question and Nigeria has a lot of factors to consider not just bilateral relations, as she has relations with other countries. There are many points Nigeria have to review.”
He, however, noted it is an ongoing process, though difficult but witnessing progress.