North Korea is making tens of millions of dollars from construction projects in a number of African countries that are members of the United Nations, a U.N. official has told CNN.
Hugh Griffiths, the coordinator of the U.N. Panel of Experts on North Korea, which monitors the enforcement of sanctions on the reclusive nation, told CNN that the money Pyongyang is making is “highly significant.”
The North Korean state-owned entity Mansudae is carrying out many of the contracts, CNN reported. The countries where construction projects have taken place include Namibia, Botswana, Angola, Zimbabwe and Senegal, according to the broadcaster.
"We are looking at at least 14 African (U.N.) member states where Mansudae alone was running quite large construction operations — building everything from ammunition factories, to presidential palaces, to apartment blocks,” Griffiths told CNN.
"North Koreans can make a little money go a long way,” he added.
In Namibia, Mansudae built the presidential palace and a statue of Sam Nujoma, the anti-apartheid activist and the nation’s founding president, in front of the National Museum in the capital of Windhoek, according to CNN.
Namibia's Deputy Prime Minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah told CNN that all North Korean operations have now been stopped and all North Korean construction workers have left the nation, in accordance with U.N. sanctions.
"All of these were agreed before the sanctions by the U.N. But when the sanctions were imposed we had to comply and then we had to cease all the contracts, we had to terminate the contracts we had with North Korea," Nandi-Ndaitwah told the broadcaster.