Diplomats to Africa open way for trade

Diplomats to Africa open way for trade

ANKARA - Anatolia News Agency
Diplomats to Africa open way for trade

Turkish President Abdullah Gül is seen during a visit to Gabon in this file photo. Turkey’s enhancing diplomatic relations in Africa helps exports to the continent. AA photo

Turkey’s exports to African nations have grown rapidly as the country’s diplomatic attention to the continent has also risen.

Turkish exports to Africa jumped sevenfold in 10 years, reaching $10.3 billion in 2011, according to data provided by the Foreign Ministry.

In a decade, Turkey has opened 19 embassies on the continent. This shows the country’s enthusiasm to improve ties with Africa as the total number of Turkish embassies launched in the past 10 years reaches 27.

In 2001 Turkey’s exports to African countries stood at only $1.52 million.

Turkey opened its embassy in Dar es Salaam, the richest city in Tanzania, and Abidjan, the economic capital of Ivory Coast, in 2009. Both embassies have boosted trade with these countries.

Exports to Tanzania jumped to $55 million that year from, a moderate $3 million in 2009. The volume increased to $171 million in 2011.

Exports to the Ivory Coast tell a similar story. Turkey sold $9 million worth of goods to the West African country in 2011, which is small when compared with the $60 million in 2009 or $66 million in 2011.

Cameroon’s Yaounde, Ghana’s Accra, Mali’s Bamako, Uganda’s Kampala, Angola’s Luanda and Madagascar’s Antananarivo were the six African cities that began hosting a Turkish embassy in 2010.

Exports to Cameroon increased from $9 million to $49 million in 2010, before doubling to $105 million a year later.

Ghana was even more promising. Sales to the country increased to $219 million last year from $18 million in 2010.

Exports to Mali, Uganda, Madagascar and Angola rose to $18 million, $24 million, $51 million and $221 million respectively from relatively insignificant figures.

Turkey opened seven more embassies on the continent in 2011. These were in Zambia’s Lusaka, Mozambique’s Maputo, Mauritania’s Nouakchott, Zimbabwe’s Harare, Somali’s Mogadishu, Gambia’s Banjul and Niger’s Niamey.

Turkish exports to these new markets reached $6 million, $103 million, $76 million, $5 million, $40 million, $40 million and $24 million respectively.

A Turkish embassy to newly founded South Sudan’s Juba also began operating last year.

In the first four months of this year alone Turkey opened new embassies in Namibia’s Windhoek, Gabon’s Libreville and Burkina Faso’s Ouagadougou.

These stronger business ties witnessed the foundation of new business groups such as Turkish-Angola, Turkish-Ghana and Turkish-Uganda business councils.

According to data by Turkish Statistics Institute (TÜİK) Turkey’s exports to African countries increased by 58.2 percent in the first two months of 2012 when compared with the same period a year earlier, nearing $3.5 billion.