Turkish and African business worlds convene in Istanbul: ‘UNITE, DISCOVER, DEVELOP’
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan delivers a speech at the opening of the Turkey-Africa Economic and Business Forum.The Turkey-Africa Economic and Business Forum, hosted by the Turkish Ministry of Economy and African Union with the coordination of DEİK and the contribution of the Turkish Exporters’ Assembly, was held in Istanbul between Nov. 2 and 3.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the African Union Term Chairperson, Chad President Idriss Déby Itno, participated in the opening ceremony of the event that brought together more than 2,500 high ranking officials and business people from more than 50 African countries. Ministers, heads and representatives of private institutions, the African Union and regional economic groups showed great interest in the event.
“We can see that a single recipe to growth and development, a single system of administration has been dictated to different countries in the name of globalization,” said President Erdoğan in his opening
“Not only rising powers such as Turkey but our African, South American and Asian friends are having their share in this dictation,” the president said, adding that Turkey considers the priorities of the Africa continent as a priority for itself and as “companions in fate.”
The trade volume between Turkey and Africa increased three fold in the past decade, said Term Chairperson Déby Itno in his address. “This shows that the trade volume will multiply and get stronger,” he said.
“Africa offers a great opportunity with its young population. Many African countries have realized important reforms to attract more foreign investments and strengthen their economies.”
Minister Zeybekci: We believe in Africa
The engine of the world economy, which has faced a recession for the past 10 years and “has come to the end of the path of growth,” will be Africa thanks to the right policies, Turkish Minister of Economy Nihat Zeybekci said. The annual trade between Turkey and Africa has reached $20 billion, the minister noted.
Turkey’s Africa policy by no means consists of only taking but mostly giving, Minister Zeybekci said, adding that Turkey was present in railway, highway, hospital, stadium, hotel and congress center projects and many other private and public investments on the continent. “We believe in Africa,” he concluded.
DEİK President Vardan: A milestone in relations
Turkey’s “Africa opening” has brought Turkey-Africa relations to a very high stage in the past 11 years, said DEİK President Ömer Cihad Vardan. “Today we are cornering one of the most important milestones in Turkey’s Africa opening,” Vardan said. “We have started to discover our countries, our needs and the ways to fulfill them.” DEİK aims to develop relations with Africa in a path that President Erdoğan pointed, DEİK’s Vardan said, adding that this was why the motto of the forum was “Unite, Discover, Develop.”
13 agreements have been signed
A sum of 13 different agreements were signed between Turkey and African countries during the Forum. Turkey signed deals with Rwanda, the Kingdom of Lesotho, the Democratic Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe and the Kingdom of Swaziland.
DEİK signed agreements with its counterparts in Chad, the Republic of South Africa, Gabon, Cameroon, Malawi and the Republic of Cabo Verde.
The Investment Support and Promotion Agency of Turkey (ISPAT) inked a cooperation deal with the Agence Nationale de Promotion des Investissements (ANPI).
“Our will to do business in Africa is so big that its effect is not limited to us, our country and the region but the whole world. Because the future is Africa,” Minister Zeybekci said on the second day of the Forum. “All the most developed countries in the world have faced difficulties at various points in time. What makes me optimistic is the will to struggle with difficulties that I see in the eyes of my African friends.”
More than 10,000 business-to-business (B2B) meetings were realized in 20 hours within the scope of the Forum. Some 15 business-to-government (B2G) meetings were also held.