ISTANBUL - Anatolia News Agency
Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (not pictured) is set to meet with Gabonese President Ondimba. AFP photo
Turkey aims to increase its trade volume with African countries to $50 billion by 2015, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
told journalists at Istanbul Atatürk
Airport before his departure to Gabon. “Turkey has been exerting efforts in the development of Africa,” Erdoğan said.
The prime minister will visit Gabon, Niger and Senegal in his first foreign trip abroad in the new year, where he will meet with heads of state, chair meetings between the countries’ officials, participate in business forums and sign several agreements during the six-day African tour.
In Gabon, Erdoğan is set to meet with Gabonese President Ali Ben Bongo Ondimba and the country’s prime minister, Raymond Ndong Sima, as well as appear in a joint press conference. Accompanied by a large delegation of Turkish businesspeople, Erdoğan will speak at a Turkish-Gabonese business forum that would seek opportunities for cooperation in trade and investment.
Erdoğan will then visit Niger on Jan. 8 on the second stop of his African tour and meet with President Mahamadou Issoufou.Diplomatic attack
On Jan. 10, the last stop of the tour, Erdoğan is set to arrive in Senegal to meet with President Macky Sall and Prime Minister Abdoul Mbaye. Turkey’s exports to Senegal stood at $109 million in the January-October period of 2012, down from $116 million over the same period a year earlier.
Turkey has opened embassies in 19 African countries in the last three years to bring the total number of its top diplomatic missions in the continent to 31.
Erdoğan said Turkey aims to increase the number of embassies to 34 within the next few months. Turkey’s trade volume, $5 billion dollars in 2003, increased to $17 billion at the end of 2011, Erdoğan said.