South Korea’s Engagement with Africa

Following the end of the Korean War in 1953, South Korea prioritised its alliance with the United States in pursuit of economic growth and military security. It took more than a decade since the end of the war until South Korea essentially inaugurated diplomatic relations with African states. The early years of its diplomacy in Africa focused on securing formal support from African nations for South Korea’s entry to the United Nations.
However, Korea’s interest in Africa remained low during the Cold War. North Korea was years ahead forging diplomatic links with Soviet-supported African countries when South Korea began to intensify its approach on the continent. South Korea had maintained a one-Korea policy, which prevented African countries from having simultaneous diplomatic relations with the two Koreas. In face of the limitations this policy imposed, South Korea abandoned the strategy in 1973.

Japan’s Engagement with Africa

In modern times, Japanese and African relations can be traced back to the 1960s when Japan started its Official Development Assistance (ODA) program to Sub-Saharan Africa with the aim of promoting economic development and welfare. The oil crisis in the 1970s made Japan shift its strategy in Africa by developing stronger links with a wider range of nations but keeping a focus on oil exporter countries such as Nigeria.
With the end of the Cold War and collapse of Soviet-sponsored states in Africa, Japan’s interest in locating strategic partners in the continent only grew. Its strategy remained fairly unchanged though, as Japan continued to use foreign aid and loans as a driver of foreign policy in Africa. From 1991 to 1997, Japan had ranked top amongst the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) peers and became a leading donor for several states in Africa.

Lessons from Singapore Companies in Sub-Saharan Africa

Over the past few years, business leaders and investors have become increasingly aware of the economic potential of Sub-Saharan Africa’s burgeoning consumer market. Singapore is an increasingly interested player in the Sub-Saharan African arena. There is a growing number of Singapore companies, from small to large, drawn to the region.They venture not only to familiar South Africa, but are also attracted by the blossoming tech industry in East Africa and by the booming population in West Africa, which brings the promise of a huge untapped market.

Smart Cities in Africa: Nairobi and Cape Town

Smart cities leverage on technology and use the large amount of data their citizens generate every second to optimize resources, to connect people and to improve business and trading. A smart city targets energy savings and adopts environmentally friendly technologies, which helps promoting sustainable development.
Nairobi and Cape Town rank among the most advanced cities on the African continent on the smart city front. Nairobi, capital of Kenya and home to over 3 million people, won the title of Most Intelligent City in Africa for two years in a row. Going south, Cape Town blossoms as one of the best places to do business in the continent as the South African government continuously implements thoughtful planning and cutting edge technology to attract businesses and improve the lives of its citizens. Both Nairobi and Cape Town look at Singapore as a role model for the city of the future.

Integration Efforts in the East African Community

The East African Community (EAC) is an economic bloc formed by Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi. The countries have a history of cooperation dating back to the early 20th century. In the recent years, they have started various infrastructure projects to improve the connection between its members, ultimately decreasing the cost of doing business and making the bloc more attractive to trade with foreign countries.

Singapore is enjoying this opportunity, with investments in the African continent growing at a compound rate of 12% per year; the city-state has traded more than US$400 million with the EAC alone in 2013. Singapore is currently involved in various businesses in the region, ranging from agriculture to digital logistics solutions, and is eager to expand its presence even more. This pace will increase as legal frameworks and institutions covering the whole EAC bloc gain strength and eliminate corruption in the region; and when basic infrastructure problems are solved and an easy flow of goods and services is reached in the region.

Angola Beyond Oil

Angola has experienced rapid growth in the last decade, mostly propelled by the exploitation of its vast natural resources. Today, the country ranks as the third largest economy in Sub-Saharan Africa. Its history, like that of many African nations, is characterised by struggle and battle. After its independence from Portugal in 1975, Angola entered into a 27-year long civil war, where two major opposition parties, MPLA and Unita, fought for supremacy. In 2002, the two parties finally agreed on a cease-fire and started to focus on rebuilding the country. The rebirth of Angola started in 2002.

Mombasa and Dar es Salaam, Gateways for East Africa

The East African coast occupies a strategic position that allows maritime connections between the African continent and the Middle East and Asia. The ports of Mombasa, in Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, in Tanzania, are the most important in the region and, since the colonial times, compete to be the most relevant in East Africa. Million of tonnes of goods are imported through both of them from other coastal countries and continents and exported to the world.