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The Legal Market of Blue Ocean in Africa

The 63rd Korean Bar Association Forum hosted on the 18th floor central meeting room of the Korean Bar Association was held at 7PM on the January 14th, 2019. Dr. Jung Hae-Jung, President of M.K International Inc. came up to give a lecture on the topic of “Strategic Planning and Experiences to Penetrate African Export Market Places.”

Dr. Jung has a Ph.D. in Economics and was an Honorary Consul of Sierra Leone in Korea. He is also the President of Korea-Nigeria Business Council (KONIAB), Vice Chairman of Asia Africa Chamber of Commerce (AACC), Co-Chairman of Asia-Africa Business Council, Policy Advisor to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and is actively engaged in international activities, especially in Africa.

President Dr. Jung began his lecture on the pace of economic growth in Africa. Africa has become emerging market with the recent political and economic development together with the strategic value of the resource development market.

In the beginning, President Dr. Jung advised, “At a time when advanced countries such as the U.S., the U.K., and emerging countries such as China and India are actively entering to Africa, we need to devise a strategic plan for Korea, which is a latecomer.”

From 2000 to 2015, Africa's economic growth rate is fast enough to exceed the global average for the 15th consecutive year. Although the growth rate decreased slightly in 2016 and 2017 due to the global economic recession and falling raw material prices, it is expected that the economic growth rate in 2018 to 2020 would be more than 3 percent when the global economy recovers.

Noting that the population of Africa is about 1,265,626,825 people (approx. 16.64% of the world and a population growth rate of 2.3%), Africa is the only continent where a median age of the young population is 18.3 years old. Chairman Dr. Jung highly valued the creation of new business opportunities and potential in the process of changing the next-generation African economy and political system.

Continuing the presentation, President Dr. Jung had also advised the attendees to "Catch Nigeria, South Africa and Egypt." Africa's gross domestic product (GDP) is 2.2 trillion US dollars in 2017, which is 2.8 percent of the world GDP. From the top, Nigeria's GDP is the highest at $375.8 billion, followed by South Africa with $349.4 billion, Egypt with $235.4 billion, Algeria with $170.4 billion, and Angola with $124.2 billion.

Dr. Jung said, "Promising sectors for entry into Africa are in the sector of consumer goods, IT products, automobiles, construction and heavy equipment." According to the IT product market, mobile phone users in Africa will be 750 million by 2017, 75.4% of the total population. Mobile business is showing high growth rate and Korean companies' entry into the African IT product market is prominent in the mobile field. Samsung Electronics has the largest mobile phone market share in South Africa and Angola. Meanwhile, LG Electronics ranked 5th in South Africa and 8th in Angola.

"Black diamond, a young middle class with a high-income level and purchasing power, is emerging as a new consumer class,” said Dr. Jung as an advice on the direction of opening the market.

As a contract cannot be established without participation of a lawyer when all contracts are concluded in Africa, "The legal market shown full of demand, so there is a lot of potential for Korean lawyers to enter the African market and perform well," Dr. Jung added.

Additionally, "in Africa, the number of lawyers is low, and the consultation fee are high per hour. Therefore, it is highly profitable if Korean lawyer wanted to run an office together with a local African lawyer." It has more potential than any other country and advises that it will become the blue ocean of the legal market.

Dr. Jung Hae-Jung has risen to the current position after experiencing continuous efforts and failures to enter the African market. He also advised the African government to prepare thoroughly in advanced and establish a proven business plan, secure accurate market information and apply actual practices without hesitation, promote a promising business area and select regional characteristics considering the size of the market, and to execute the plan in accordance to the local demands.

"More than anything, building trust for local people, businessmen and the government are the most critical synergies," Dr. Jung said. "Although there are many difficulties in operation by establishing companies around the world including the U.S., China, Vietnam, Dubai and Nigeria, the company can operate properly because he had been able to builds trust with local employees and respects them,” Chairman Dr. Jung added.

Dr. Jung Hae-Jung has been in business for a long time and learned African law and history. "African law is operated in various combinations of custom law, common law, civil law and religious law systems," he explained.

Africa has encountered the laws of many countries, mainly in the nineteenth century Europe. South Africa was formed according to the laws of the Netherlands and Britain, and over time, several parliamentary organizations were created.

"Some of the oldest legal systems started in Africa," Dr. Jung said. "Ancient Egyptian law used civil law based on the concept of Ma'at."

To the end of the lecture, Dr. Jung introduced the legal and judicial system of the OHADA (Organization for Harmonization of Business Law in Africa) as one of the most successful intergovernmental organization for legal integration of the late 20th century. Established in October 1993, a treaty signed in Port Louis (Mauritius) was revised in October 2008 in Quebec City, Canada.

There are currently 17 countries member of OHADA (Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Comoros, Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Gabon, Senegal, etc.). The main languages used are French, English, Spanish and Portuguese. OHADA was established to ensure legal and judicial safety for investors and companies by improving the legal and judicial uncertainties that exist in its member states.

After the lecture, questions were poured. One lawyer questioned whether racial discrimination existed, and Dr. Jung answered, "Although there is no evidence of racial discrimination between white and black people in Africa, it is true that there is no such thing as a country where people are happy enough to dance even if they do not eat.

When asked if Africa is dangerous or not, Dr. Jung answered, “there are no countries or regions that are not dangerous,” in 2017, South Korea’s index of corruption was on the rank of 51st, higher than other African countries.

<Original News is available in Korean with the following URL: 대한변협신문>

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