Ties between Turkey, African countries to strengthen, President Erdogan says at Turkey-Africa Economic and Business Forum
Turkey aims to nearly double its bilateral trade volume with Africa from last year’s $25.3 billion to $50 billion, and later raise this even further to $75 billion, the country’s president said on Friday.
“Sincere ties” between Turkey and African countries will grow stronger, Recep Tayyip Erdogan stressed at the third edition of the Turkey-Africa Economic and Business Forum.
The two-day forum, which covers topics including the partnership between the two sides, as well as collaboration in agriculture, pandemic measures, and innovation, began on Thursday in the Turkish metropolis Istanbul.
Erdogan recalled that Turkey’s investments on the continent have exceeded $6 billion so far and that Turkish contractors have assumed more than 1,150 projects, such as bridges and roads, worth over $70 billion in Africa.
Turkish business world’s investments are beneficial for both Turkish and African sides, he noted.
While Turkish investors’ interest in the continent has been increasing, African people discover opportunities in Turkey in the fields of tourism, health, and production, the president highlighted.
Turkish-made defense products contribute to African countries’ border security while Turkish business people’s factories and trade networks provide employment for tens of thousands of African people, Erdogan stressed.
Touching on his Africa visit, he said: “We held talks in Angola,Togo, and Nigeria with our ministers and business delegations.”
Erdogan also said he met with leaders of Burkina Faso and Liberia in Togo.
Criticizing economically developed countries and particularly the West’s attitude towards Africa during the coronavirus pandemic, Erdogan said: “African peoples have been left alone in the face of the health crisis.”
“Rising customs barriers and protectionist measures have hurt the fragile economies of African countries the most,” he underlined.
According to the World Health Organization’s regional office, there were 6 million COVID-19 cases in the continent so far, he recalled.
Meanwhile, 44 of the countries that received Turkish donations of medical supplies and devices were in Africa, noted Erdogan.
“We don’t think it’s right to take an approach to the vaccine issue that is purely based on financial interests and profit, while the pain we’re experiencing is clear.”
He also said the Turkish Council’s member countries will donate vaccines to the continent.
Mehmet Mus, the Turkish trade minister, said that for Turkey, Africa does not mean gold, silver, or diamond, but brotherhood, partnership, and gaining together.
Adding that the African continent has the “fastest-developing countries,” he said the story of Africa is going through a “big change.”
“As Turkey, we are aware of this potential,” he said, but also stressed that Turkey has a “humanitarian approach” in terms of the development of the continent.
“When I look at this hall, I see not only economic and commercial partners, but also my brothers,” he added.
“Together with our private sector, we will continue to provide all kinds of support to the development of Africa,” he said. “Africa will win and we will win together.”
Mus said they attach great importance to developing relations with Africa in every field.
Recalling Turkey’s investments and projects in the continent, the minister stressed that Turkey and Africa relations have been increasing and will continue to accelerate.
Albert Muchanga, the commissioner for trade and industry of the African Union Commission, said parties had successful ministerial and business level meetings at the event.
Mentioning the continent’s increasing GDP figures and trade opportunities, he said Africa is very attractive for investors.