According to Yonhap News Agency reporter Kim Eun-jung, the South Korean Ministry of Defence has announced that from November 23 to 28, a team of eight military, acquisition and Air Force officials, led by a two-star general, will make its first visit to Botswana.
The goal beyond expanding defense ties will be boosting sales of the T-50 supersonic trainer, along with its FA-50 light attack variant, which are built jointly by Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) and Lockheed Martin.
“The visit is aimed at providing government support to facilitate the export of the T-50 or the FA-50,” a senior ministry official said on customary anonymity. “We hope the upcoming visit could help pave the way for South Korea to tap into Africa, expanding its overseas market focused in Southeast Asia, Latin America and Europe.”
Previously Botswana Defense Minister Dikgakgamatso Seretse met with his Korean counterpart Kim Kwanjin in Seoul on Oct. 30, as he was attending the Seoul International Aerospace & Defense Exhibition 2013. The Botswana government is seeking to acquire about 16 jets, with plans to receive a first batch of eight aircraft at an unspecified date, according to military officials.
Botswana is currently using 14 F-5A fighter jets and F-5D trainers it bought from Canada in 1996 but now wants to replace the elderly aircraft. Botswana and South Korea established trade relations in 1984 when the two countries exchanged Trade Missions. In 1986 the two counties signed a Most Favoured Nation (MFN) Trade Agreement. The agreement led to Daewoo Corporation becoming involved in construction from 1986 and Hyundai Motor Distributors setting up a car assembly plant in Botswana.
Botswana is a strategic resource-rich country and could pave the way for Seoul to tap into Africa, expanding its overseas market in Southeast Asia, Latin America and Europe.