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Korea-Africa: Emerging Opportunities
Published August 31, 2011
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Just a few decades ago, South Korea had much in common with many African states as they were emerging from colonialism. At the time of Ghana’s independence in 1957, for example, the country’s income per capita was practically equivalent to South Korea’s at just under $500. Fifty-four years later, the economic trajectories of the two countries could not be more divergent. According to World Bank estimates of purchasing power parity income per capita, at the end of 2009 Ghana’s income per head stands at $1,530 while South Korea’s sits at $27,240. Despite Ghana’s natural resources—gold, cocoa, and now oil—and robust democratic institutions, without credible investment partners that can help develop the economy, it would take Ghana five centuries to catch up to South Korea at the current rate. Fortunately, countries like Ghana are finally poised for economic takeoff, and Korean firms are well positioned to both assist in, and benefit from, the boom.

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