Kenya and South Korea will continue to nurture and expand ties aimed at contributing to the socio-economic development of the two countries.  It is in this context that H.E. President William Ruto, on invitation by his host, H.E. Yoon Suk Yeol, made a 3-day official visit to South Korea from November 21 – 24, 2022.

In a bilateral meeting between the two Presidents, South Korea agreed to support Kenya’s development agenda by committing Kshs.120 billion to various projects including: – Agriculture, ICT, Health, Energy, Infrastructure, Education, affordable housing and urban transport.

“Kenya will work with South Korea to develop manufacturing plants in the Konza Technopolis, an export promotion zone dedicated to pharmaceutical manufacturing, vaccines production and value addition in Agriculture,” President Ruto said.

Separately in a meeting with the H.E. Kim Jin Pyo, Speaker of South Korea Parliament, President Ruto urged the South Korean Parliament to pass legislations that will ease trade between the two countries and secure job opportunities for Kenyans.  The leaders pledged to work together to enhance clean energy to mitigate the effects of climate change and manage the effects of drought.

President Ruto also presided over the Kenya-South Korea Business Forum themed – ‘Unlocking Trade and Investment Opportunities between Kenya and South Korea.’  Kenya and South Korea Business organisations signed partnership agreements aimed at enhancing trade and investment, promoting effective public-private partnerships and addressing youth unemployment.  The business entities agreed to prioritise investments that will fast-track the realization of the United Nations (UN) 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

In an engagement with the Kenyan Diaspora in Seoul, President Ruto said Kenya will work closely with the South Korean Government to unlock opportunities in technology, trade, investment and maritime operations for the benefit of Kenyans especially 300 of them residing in South Korea.

On November 22, 2022, Dr. Alfred Mutua, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Foreign and Diaspora Affairs and his counterpart Mr. Park Jin, South Korea’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, held fruitful bilateral talks.  They discussed ways and means of deepening existing ties between Kenya and South Korea.

The two Foreign Ministers lauded the historical ties between the two countries founded on common values and principles since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1964.

Dr. Mutua appreciated South Korea for the continued support and cooperation in various sectors including water, agriculture, education and infrastructure development which are in sync with Kenya’s national priorities.

The Cabinet Secretary, encouraged the Republic of Korea, Korean companies, businesses and people to partner and invest in Kenya which is the gateway to the East African Community (EAC) and the Common Markets for Eastern and South African (COMESA) region which have a combined population of over 300 million people and a perfect hub for South Korea’s strategic positioning into Africa.

Under Economic Cooperation, CS Mutua highlighted that since the establishment of the Joint Economic Commission in 1997, both sides had benefitted immensely.  Notably South Korea has since established Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) project, the ongoing construction of the Kenya Advance Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) at Konza Technopolis and other key development projects including dam construction, water, affordable housing and urban transport.

The two Ministers also deliberated on ways to further strengthen the Kenya, South Korea relations through cooperation in energy; ICT, Health; Transport and Cultural collaboration.

Kenya and Republic of Korea enjoy cordial relations based on mutual trust and benefits.  Kenya Exports to South Korea include:  Tea, Coffee, Tobacco and Ore’s slag.  Kenya’s main imports from Korea include manufacturing goods such as boilers, tires, tubes, textiles, raw materials, sugar, steel products, electronic goods, vehicles, chemicals, fertilizers and synthetic fibres.

The Cabinet Secretary welcomed his counterpart to visit Kenya to keep the friendship and partnership strong for the benefit of the two peoples.

H.E. President William Ruto and his South Korean counterpart Yoon Suk Yeol Yongsan toast during the bilateral meeting at the Presidential Office, Seoul, South Korea on November 23, 2022.

Dr. Alfred Mutua, Cabinet Secretary, Foreign and Diaspora Affairs held bilateral meeting with H.E. Park Jin, Minister for Foreign Affairs in the Republic of Korea on November 22, 2022.

Dr. Alfred Mutua, Cabinet Secretary, Foreign and Diaspora Affairs with his South Korean Counterpart H.E. Park Jin, in Seoul, on November 22, 2022.