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Seoul mulls body to boost cooperation with Africa

All Headlines 09:39 May 05, 2013

SEOUL, May 5 (Yonhap) -- South Korea is considering establishing an organization to be tasked with sharing its development experience with Africa and further promote cooperation with the region, an official said Sunday.

The body, tentatively named the Korea-Africa Center, will be headquartered in Seoul and the government is weighing plans to set up four chapters in Africa -- Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa and Egypt, he said.

"Modeled after the ASEAN-Korea Center, the government is reviewing the need for establishing a cooperative body with Africa and discussing the plan with parliament," said the official on condition of anonymity.

The Seoul-based ASEAN-Korea Center is an international body tasked with promoting cooperation with the 10 members states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

The envisioned organization will be charged with forging cooperative ties with African nations, sharing its experience with the "Saemaeul Movement" with them and promote business opportunities in the largely untapped market, he added.

Launched in 1970, the government-led movement, which translates as the "new village movement," is credited with helping modernize the then-rural South Korean economy and overcome the country's poverty.

The official said Seoul expects the envisioned four branches in Africa to serve as outposts to propagate the new village movement to African nations trying to eliminate poverty.

Seoul's move come as there is currently no working-level organization in charge of handling cooperation with Africa despite the continent's growing importance in the international community.

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