From AIDOGHIE PAULINUS and RACHEAL ANYASO, Abuja
Outgoing Republic of Korea Ambassador to Nigeria, Noh Kyu-duk, has said that the government of Korea has earmarked over $50 million to help Nigeria out of recession.
The Korean envoy also said that just as the international community once provided assistance to Korea, the government of Korea would always avail itself to assist Nigeria.
Noh who spoke during the 2017 Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) Alumni Gathering, said the roles of development cooperation which has made the Korea-Nigeria relationship stronger than ever, cannot be overlooked.
He noted that more Koreans were travelling to even the most remote regions of Nigeria to provide assistance, while also saying that Korean companies were delivering services, building schools and opening centers to help local people.
The Korean ambassador also stated that Korean professors and experts were sharing their experience and expertise in order to strengthen the capacity of government officials in fields such as health, education, vocational training and agriculture.
He said: “It is a matter of fact that the projects are focused upon four areas: agriculture, information and communication technology, education and vocational training.
“As you know, for the development of Nigeria’s economy, it is very important to diversify your industries. Now, it is too much focused on oil and gas industry.
“But by providing our experienced expertise and agriculture and other sectors of the industry, I believe that we are providing some assistance to the Nigeria nation for economic development.
“The project is from $50 million to few million US dollars. They are different, from project to project,” Noh said.
The financing of the project, he said, was solely the responsibility of the Korean government, with no counterpart funding from the Nigerian government.
Corroborating the ambassador’s statement, KOICA Country Director for Nigeria, Sook Hyun Park, said the amount earmarked for Nigeria was already utilised.
Park said: “Currently, we are implementing a project in education which we built, a brand new school in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), which is around $50 million.
“Also, we are currently implementing the e-governance programme which is $8.5 million since 2013 and recently, we finished our vocational training project and handed it over to Nigeria.
“Those projects are on the pipeline and ongoing, but previously, we also implemented projects in agriculture such as building some rice processing projects in Niger State and also building some cassava processing projects in Kogi State.
Speaking earlier, the President of South Korea International Cooperation Association (SKICAN), Barr Fidelis Ugbo, said the gathering was to sensitize and inform government and Nigerians that KOICA and the alumni were in partnership.