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Uganda and The Republic of Korea Commit to Strengthening Bilateral Cooperation

Tuesday, 9th November 2021
Hon. Henry Okello OYREM, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs in charge of International Affairs of the Republic of Uganda, this morning met and held discussions with H.E Choi Jongmoon, the Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea. 

The main purpose of this meeting was to further bolster the cordial bilateral relations and deepen cooperation between the countries.

Hon Oryem welcomed H.E Choi Jongmoon and his entire delegation to Uganda and commended the excellent bilateral relations that continue to grow from strength to strength.

The Minister further stated that H.E Choi Jongmoon's visit is an opportunity to further consolidate commitments between the two countries and take them to a higher level for mutual benefits.

Hon. Okello Oryem noted that Uganda and Korea have signed a number of Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) in various areas of cooperation that have further consolidated and strengthened their bilateral relations.

The Minister reiterated Uganda's commitment to strengthen cooperation with South Korea at the multilateral fora on issues of climate change, human rights, and refugees, economic and social development. 

H.E Choi Jongmoon the warm reception and hospitality accorded to him and his entire delegation. He further reiterated that the relations between the Republic of Korea and Uganda are historic dating way back to 1963 when diplomatic relations were established. 

The Vice Minister further noted that the bilateral relations between both countries are progressive and ties have continued to strengthen in the Political, Economic, Social, Cultural and Scientific fields.

H.E Choi recalled the official visit of President Park Geun-Hye to Uganda from 28th - 30th May 2016 at the invitation of H.E. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, the President of the Republic of Uganda. The two leaders agreed to strengthen cooperation in key sector areas Health, Education, Agriculture and Defence for the mutual benefit of both countries.

The Vice Minister informed the meeting that this exchange of high-level visits by both Presidents is a manifestation of the Political goodwill for both countries to deepen Bilateral cooperation.

The meeting further deliberated on ways of enhancing economic and development co-operation in key sector areas of Agriculture, Infrastructural Development, Transport and Aviation Education and Health in terms of combating the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Hon. Oryem noted that the Government of the Republic of Korea is Uganda's strategic partner in socio-economic development. He highlighted the efforts of the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) and how it continues to support Uganda's development strategies. This has significantly impacted various sectors and groups in Uganda. With this, The Minister expressed Uganda's deep appreciation for the numerous projects which South Korea has implemented in Uganda, such as the fruit processing factory in Soroti Industrial Park, Ntinda Vocational Institute, among others.

H.E Choi Jongmoon noted that Uganda is one of the ODA (official donor assistance) nations of Korea and reiterated the Government of Korea's commitment to providing this assistance for the mutual benefit of both parties. 

In October 2012, both countries concluded a grant-aid agreement that will encourage even greater bilateral cooperation through the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA).

KOICA is currently working on a number of projects and propositions: a fruit processing factory in Teso, a National Farmers Leadership Center, the Korea Millennium Village Project, and more. They are also working alongside NGOs such as Child Fund and World Vision to implement an even greater number of projects. The Korea Import/Export Bank has recently concluded a loan agreement in line with the 'Education Project IV' and also, in the near future to build roads and infrastructure in Uganda.

In terms of promoting economic cooperation, both Ministers agreed to improve on the bilateral trade which currently is in favour of Korea. H.E Choi emphasized that Korea is committed to increasing trade and investment ventures that will result in increased trade volumes in terms of goods exported from Uganda to Korea.

Hon. Oyrem informed that Uganda is prepared to undertake these joint investment business ventures in a number of identified sectors and specifically requested Korea to consider granting market access to agricultural products from Uganda.  

Hon. Okello Oryem lauded the Korean Government for the donations made through various programmes totalling $6,575,132 as support during the COVID-19 pandemic and viewed it as a true sign of solidarity and cooperation with Uganda.

Vice Minister Choi reaffirmed the Korean Government's commitment to supporting Uganda's efforts in combatting the COVID-19 pandemic and informed of funding worth $200 million for health assistance to support Africa's response to COVID-19 of which Uganda is one of the countries earmarked to benefit from this.

Hon. Okello Oryem informed that Uganda welcomes the support of Korea and all development partners to support the implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in its entirety and to achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly the eradication of poverty and extreme hunger, as Uganda commence the decade of action and delivery of sustainable development, encapsulated in Uganda's National Development Plans.

The Minister further noted Uganda's progressive policy on refugees and currently hosts over 1.4 million refugees, the largest number in Africa as well as sighting how Uganda recently hosted a few refugees from Afghanistan following the takeover by the Taliban. 

H.E Choi reaffirmed Korea's commitment to supporting Uganda's efforts in assisting refugees with a donation of $5 million to support the comprehensive refugee response programme in Uganda over the next 3 years. The Minister stated that the support would reinforce the provision of relief items, health care, water and sanitation services for the refugees and host communities.

Hon. Okello Oryem commended the Government of South Korea for participating in humanitarian and peacekeeping operations in South Sudan and he also stated how working together to support international and regional mechanisms can provide useful and effective tools for maintaining peace and security and guarantee the well-being of the affected populations. In this regard, The Minister looked forward to participating in the forthcoming 4th UN Peacekeeping Ministerial Meeting on 8/9 December 2021, in Seoul.

H.E Choi Jongmoon welcomed Uganda's participation in the forthcoming Peacekeeping Ministerial meeting and expressed optimism that the outcomes would be for the benefit of all parties involved.

In conclusion, Hon. Oryem reiterated Uganda's commitment to maintain continuous engagement to further strengthen cooperation for the mutual development of both Uganda and of the Republic of Korea.

In attendance was H.E.Ha Byung-Kyoo the Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Uganda, Amb. Alfred Nnam Head of Public Diplomacy Department, Amb. Godfrey Kwoba Head of International Political Cooperation Department. Ms. Joyce Onek Head of the International Economic Cooperation Department and other officials of the Ministry and Embassy of the Republic of Korea.
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