Turkey, Tanzania ink deals to boost trade, development
DAR ES SALAAM
AA photoTurkey and Tanzania have signed nine agreements in defense, economic development, and health during a visit by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to the East African country, according to Anadolu Agency.
Erdoğan, accompanied by several Turkish officials and trade representatives, met his Tanzanian counterpart, John Magufuli, at the country’s Presidential Palace.
At a joint press conference after the signing ceremony, Magufuli said the agreements would strengthen the development of both countries.
Erdoğan said the bilateral and inter-delegations meetings were “fruitful” for both Turkey and Tanzania.
“We will further deepen our cooperation with the new projects in the economy, trade, tourism, agriculture, railways, industry and construction, and the agreements we have signed clearly demonstrate our determination in this direction,” Erdoğan said.
Addressing businesspeople of both countries at a Turkish-Tanzanian business forum held by Turkey’s Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEİK), Erdoğan said Ankara sought to boost investments by contributing to Tanzania’s development.
“We believe that we have to increase our bilateral trade volume, which is below $150 million, to higher levels,” he said. “We agreed during bilateral negotiations that we have to increase this goal first to $250 million and then to $500 million. The progress we have made in recent years shows that these figures are reachable.”
Magufuli said Turkish investors had employed more than 2,000 people in Tanzania.
Tanzania asked for a loan from the state-owned Export Credit Bank of Turkey (Eximbank) to help finance a stretch of a new railway it hopes will help it open up East Africa’s hinterland and compete with neighboring Kenya as a trade hub.
Tanzania wants to construct a 2,561-kilometer standard gauge railway connecting its main port and capital of Dar es Salaam to land-locked neighbors, including the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zambia, Rwanda and Uganda. Turkish firms are among those that have submitted bids for the standard gauge project, Reuters reported.
Magufuli said he was seeking financing for a more-than 400-kilometer stretch of track.
“I am confident that we will secure that loan,” the Tanzanian leader told reporters.
Tanzania said in July 2016 it had secured a $7.6 billion loan from China’s Export-Import Bank (Exim) to build part of the new railway network.
Noting that Tanzania was an agricultural country like Turkey and that there were many steps to be taken in the area, Magufuli said they also wanted to learn from Turkey’s technology.
Erdoğan arrived in Tanzania on Jan. 22 for a two-day official visit, which is part of a five-day African tour. He arrived in Mozambique on Jan. 24 and was scheduled to be in Madagascar on Jan. 25 and 26.