S. Korea agrees to help Ethiopia develop textile, leather industry
The agreement came at a summit with Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi who arrived in Seoul earlier in the day. The four-day trip also includes his attendance at a major international conference on official development assistance in the southern port city of Busan.
The two sides also signed a memorandum of understanding on industrial cooperation.
It was the second summit between Lee and Meles after one held in July when Lee visited the African nation.
In Monday’s meeting, Lee expressed satisfaction that relations between the two sides have moved forward rapidly since his July visit, including Ethiopia’s move to reopen an embassy in Seoul, and hoped that Meles’ visit will help further expand all-round cooperation, the presidential office said.
Meles said Ethiopia considers South Korea as an important model for its economic development plan, and expressed hope for greater cooperation in nurturing the country’s textile and leather industry and establishing a complex of related factories, it said in a statement.
Lee told Meles that Seoul hopes to invite 300 descendants of Ethiopian veterans of the 1950-53 Korean War for vocational training in South Korea as part of a program to repay the help the African nation provided during the war, saying he hopes the initiative will improve friendship between the sides.
Meles welcomed the plan, saying he believes the program will help train workers needed for Ethiopia’s economic development, the statement said.
Ethiopia has been a focus of Seoul’s efforts to transfer its development know-how to Africa.
South Korea more than doubled its official development assistance to Ethiopia from US$4.16 million in 2009 to $10.32 million last year and helped the African nation draw up a “green growth” economic development plan.
In addition, Seoul has helped Ethiopia establish the Agricultural Transformation Agency, modeled after Seoul’s former top economic agency, the Economic Planning Board. The economic agency is credited with designing and implementing South Korea’s economic development in the 1960s and the 1970s.