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Türkiye-Africa: A Tale of Ever-Growing Trade, Economic Partnership

Türkiye is adding unprecedented momentum to swiftly expand its ever-growing economic engagement with Africa, which has seen its bilateral trade leap by as much as 800% over the last two decades.

The importance that Türkiye attaches to its links with the continent was reaffirmed last week by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who told a large group of African and Turkish businesspeople about dedication to bolstering bilateral cooperation further.

Since taking office nearly two decades ago, first serving as prime minister, Erdoğan has been fostering ties with the continent, presenting Türkiye as a fairer player than the continent’s former colonial powers.

Having made over 50 visits to around 30 African countries since he became prime minister in 2003, Erdoğan has repeatedly vowed Türkiye’s eagerness to advance its cooperation with Africa based on “equal partnership and a win-win principle.”

The diplomatic push has seen Türkiye’s trade volume with Africa surge to nearly $41 billion as of the end of 2022, from as low as $5.4 billion in 2003. The figure is projected to hit $50 billion by the end of this year.

Exports to Africa that ended last year at $23.6 billion reached $15.3 billion from January through September, with shipments rising to Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, Libya, South Africa, Nigeria, Senegal, Djibouti and Sudan.

The government’s priority to engage with Africa has helped facilitate the growth of business and trade relations. It came with a strong commitment focused on direct aid, infrastructure, transportation projects and mutually beneficial economic partnerships.

Investment, construction projects

Turkish companies’ investments across the continent exceed $10 billion, and their firms employ more than 100,000 Africans.

From energy, construction and agriculture to food, health, education and infrastructure, Turkish contractors have undertaken projects worth about $85.5 billion across the continent to date.

The number of Türkiye’s trade consulates in the continent will soon reach 31, according to Erdoğan, who also noted that they had established business councils with 48 African countries.

To boost exports of goods and services to African nations, Türkiye last year unveiled an action plan called the “Distant Countries Strategy.” This strategy, already including South Africa and Nigeria, has led to a project involving Ethiopia, South Africa, Nigeria, Libya and Egypt, marking them as the “target countries” for the 2022-2023 period.

Sub-Saharan African countries, especially in sectors like construction materials, including cement, machinery and pharmaceuticals, are seen as having significant export potential. Electric machinery, devices and the defense industry sectors are being evaluated for export potential for North African countries.

Continuous support

The Trade Ministry has been providing specialized support services to ensure that exporters have smooth access to the African market and actively engage in trade.

Over the past three years, 56 companies have received support through the “Brand and TURQUALITY” program, while 31 firms have been assisted with unit rental support and 32 companies have received promotional assistance.

This year, marketing activities were conducted as part of the International Competitiveness Development Projects (UR-GE) in Morocco, Algeria, South Africa and Tunisia. A total of 39 procurement delegations were organized between 2021 and 2023. This year, seven general trade delegation programs were carried out to Morocco, Ethiopia, Ghana, Angola, Kenya, Tanzania and Cameroon.

For the remainder of the year, plans are underway to organize seven more general trade delegation programs to Nigeria, Egypt, Tunisia, Mozambique, Algeria, Gabon, Mauritania and Senegal.

Source : Daily Sabah