Cho   Hwan-eik
South Korea

Cho Hwan-eik

President, Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA), South Korea

Commentary: The President of the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) studied political science at Seoul National University, and has an MBA from New York University and a doctorate in business administration from Hanyang University.

Cho Hwan-eik boasts deep familiarity with Korea's foreign trade. He has held a number of high-level positions, including Vice-Minister for Commerce, Industry and Energy (2004-2006) and President of the Korea Export Insurance Corporation, an office he held until assuming his new job in July 2008.

South Korea's export-driven economy is suffering: in 2008, the country posted its first trade deficit since the Asian financial crisis in 1997. Cho is pursuing a twin-pronged strategy to turn around the economy, seeking new export markets and encouraging foreign industry to take advantage of the weak Korean won.

KOTRA plans to cultivate African markets as a target for Korean electronic and consumer goods. Home electronics and mobile telecommunications will all receive a big push on the continent. South Korean construction and petroleum exploration operations are concentrated in North Africa, and KOTRA has a strong presence there with offices in Algeria, Morocco, Egypt and Libya. Regional offices in South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya will help extend South Korea's reach into the emerging markets below the Sahara.