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Turkish exporters aim for $50B annual trade with Africa

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An African man stands near the investment booths at the Turkey-Africa Economic and Business Forum in Istanbul, Turkey, Oct. 21, 2021.

Turkish exporters are aiming to increase annual bilateral trade with Africa from $25 billion (TL 240.43 billion) to $50 billion with the help of agreements in various sectors, the head of the Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEIK) said on Friday.

Free trade deals and reciprocal investment protection agreements, along with enhanced cooperation in agriculture, industry, construction, textile and health sectors are essential in this regard, Nail Olpak said on the last day of the two-day Turkey-Africa Economic and Business Forum in Istanbul.

Speaking about President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s visit to three African countries this week, Olpak said Turkey has taken important steps to boost cooperation with African nations, striking dozens of deals with governments and public and private sector firms in fields such as mining and energy.

The two-day Turkey-Africa Economic and Business Forum began on Thursday in Istanbul, where around 3,000 African and Turkish businesspeople and over 30 ministers from African countries and Turkish officials gathered.

Turkey and Africa’s bilateral trade volume, which was $5.4 billion in 2003, reached $25 billion in 2020, Turkish Trade Minister Mehmet Muş said at a news conference on the first day of the forum organized by Turkey’s Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEIK) in cooperation with the Trade Ministry and African Union Commission (AUC).

The event includes a ministerial meeting, B2B (business-to-business) debates, signing ceremonies and panel discussions in which several topics such as cooperation in agriculture, pandemic, innovation and financing will be discussed.

The summit is pertinent given that Erdoğan returned to Turkey just Thursday from a four-day tour of three African countries, including Angola, Togo and Nigeria.

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