The Deputy Minister for Overseas Koreans and Consular Affairs, Republic of Korea, Choi Yeong, says Nigeria is the gateway to unlocking the potential of the African Continent’s Blue Economy.Choi Yeong, who made the assertion during a courtesy call on NIMASA Management in Lagos, was led by the Korean Ambassador to Nigeria, Kim Young Chae also commended the sustained and improved security situation in the Gulf of Guinea with the strong presence of Nigeria.
He added that the Korean Government looks forward to continuous support from the Nigerian government in the area of intelligence and information sharing.
“Nigeria is the one of the biggest country on the African continent in terms of economic size, population and market potentials. So Nigeria could be a very important partner to us the People of Korea. Nigeria could be our gateway to the whole of African continent. We are glad to inform you that Korea has scheduled a summit involving the entire African continent in 2024 and we hope it will strengthen relationship with Nigeria and Africa,” he said.
In his speech during the visit, the Director General, NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, noted that the relationship between both countries is over 40 years and that there is the need to further deepen it.
He noted that Korea is a foremost maritime country with highly recognized capacity in the areas of shipbuilding and ship repairs, adding that Nigeria is willing to partner Korea in shipbuilding for the short, medium and long tern benefits of both countries.
“There is no how the issue of trade can flourish without adequate security. NIMASA is making steady progress in collaboration with the Nigerian Navy and other security agencies to secure the safety and security of investors, Vessels, and Seafarers in the Nigerian maritime domain.
“Considering the fact that population of Koreans is highest in Nigeria when compared to other African states, the need for improved relationship between Nigeria and Korea cannot be over emphasized Korea has arguably the best Shipbuilding companies globally and that is an area we desire partnership. We have commenced discussions with the Samsung Group and Hyundai as well on the issue of shipbuilding and ship repairs,” he said.
Commenting on the issues of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, he stated that since the 2nd quarter of 2021, there had been no issues of kidnapping and insecurity, assuring them that the Federal Government is determined to achieve a safe and secured maritime domain in Nigeria, adding that the time to improve Korea, Nigeria Bilateral relationship particularly in the fishing sector is now.
“I believe we can also explore improved interphase in areas such as deep sea fishing. Fishing in Nigeria used to be a very large source of income not far behind oil and Gas. The numbers are not looking very encouraging at the moment. Partnership will lead to more fishing trawlers in Nigerian waters,” he added.
The statement by NIMASA said that Choi Yeong and members of his team also visited the Beep Blue C4i centre, located in the NIMASA NMRDC in Kirikiri, Lagos. The team also visited the NIMASA e-Library, the Marine Environment Management Laboratory and the Kitack Lim Regional Maritime Safety and Security Centre of Excellence.