Vice President Kashim Shettima has affirmed Nigeria’s dedication to enhancing ties with the Republic of Korea, particularly in trade promotion, technology transfer, and global peacekeeping.
Furthermore, he reiterated the government’s intention to generate one million job opportunities in the digital sector for young Nigerians.
On Monday, Mr. Shettima made these remarks while receiving a delegation from the Republic of Korea, led by Jang Sungmin, the Special Envoy to the President, at the Presidential Villa.
The vice president emphasized that Nigeria and Korea enjoy a strong bilateral relationship founded on years of mutual trust and collaboration. He highlighted the significant presence of Korean companies in Nigeria, particularly in the oil and gas sector, where they have played a vital role, having constructed six LNG trains.
“We are fully committed to a very robust relationship between our nations. We need to learn a lot from Korea, especially in the areas of manufacturing and agriculture. You are a success story worthy of emulation by all developing nations.”
Mr. Shettima observed that several decades ago, in the 1950s and 1960s, Korea’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was comparable to that of many African countries. However, today, Korea has emerged as one of the developed nations, which he attributed in part to the Korean people’s exemplary leadership and unwavering commitment.
One million job opportunities in the digital sector. Expanding on his statement, Mr. Shettima highlighted that by 2030, there will be a global deficit of 65 percent, with the United States and other countries experiencing a shortage of six million skilled individuals. He emphasized that Nigeria is well-positioned to address these deficits due to its young population.
The vice president conveyed to the visiting delegation that the Nigerian government intends to leverage the digital realm by creating one million jobs within the sector.
“We are willing to partner with you in the area of technology because, by 2030, there will be a 65 percent global talent deficit, with the US, Russia, and Brazil suffering a six million talent deficit. I believe Nigeria is in a unique position to fill in those talent deficits because ours is a young nation.
“Seventy-five per cent of Nigerians are below the age of 35, so we are soliciting for your partnership and support in digital skills training for our young people. We want to create one million jobs in the digital world. India earned $120bn last year from global outsourcing, and we are in a unique position to take advantage of the opportunities in the sector. We need the skills set, we need the technology to drive the process, and yours is a technology that we can embrace,” he said.
The vice president assured the Korean Government that under the leadership of President Tinubu, the Nigerian administration is fully committed to collaborating with Korea in order to enhance the bilateral relations between both countries, particularly in addressing the trade imbalance.
Highlighting the priorities of the new Nigerian administration, Mr. Shettima emphasized, “Our government’s focus is on security and economic development. We will strive to create a more favorable environment for Korean businesses and other foreign investors to operate in Nigeria.
Korea has consistently supported us on the international stage, and we have an obligation to reciprocate by supporting Korean businesses operating in Nigeria.”
Regarding the Africa-Korea Summit, he assured the Korean delegation that President Bola Tinubu would graciously accept the invitation from his Korean counterpart to attend the summit in 2024. He added, “Nigeria genuinely appreciates the Republic of Korea’s support in multilateral institutions, such as the UN General Assembly, and our pursuit of a seat on the Security Council and various UN bodies.”
At the outset of his speech, Mr. Sungmin, who extended congratulations to Nigeria on the successful inauguration of its new government, conveyed a special invitation from President Yoon to the Nigerian president for the upcoming Africa-Korea Summit in South Korea. He reaffirmed his country’s steadfast support for Nigeria across different sectors, highlighting the potential for Korea’s collaboration with Nigeria to drive the Fourth Industrial Revolution as their respective development trajectories align.
The delegation of the Special Envoy included KIM Young-chae, the Republic of Korea’s ambassador to Nigeria; YOO Chang-ho, Deputy Secretary to the President for Future Policy; JANG Sangwoo, Deputy Director for the Planning and Execution Team, Bid Committee for World EXPO 2030 BUSAN; Guillaume Barthe-Dejean, Vice President of SK; KIM Inkyu, Chief Financial Officer of LG Electronics Nigeria Corp; and Park Hyesong from the Korea International Development Agency.