Building capacity to help Africa trade better

Africa and Turkey hold Second Turkey-Africa Economic and Business Forum to promote cooperation opportunities


Africa and Turkey hold Second Turkey-Africa Economic and Business Forum to promote cooperation opportunities

Africa and Turkey hold Second Turkey-Africa Economic and Business Forum to promote cooperation opportunities
Photo credit: Amb. Jama A Mohamed

Africa and Turkey have concluded the 2nd Turkey-Africa Economic and Business Forum in Istanbul, co-organised by the African Union Commission and the country’s Ministry of Trade.

The forum was officially inaugurated on 10 October 2018 and followed an earlier event that was held in 2016. It was meant to promote cooperation opportunities by providing a platform for government, investors, private sector, and financial institutions from Africa and Turkey. More than 3000 delegates across these sectors attended the Istanbul forum.

Promotion of public-private partnerships was highlighted at the forum as a critical element in the development efforts of both Africa and Turkey. Encouraging and facilitating private sector exploitation of investment and business opportunities was therefore a key objective of the forum, as was increasing interaction between the business communities of Turkey and Africa.

“The private sector is the cornerstone of growth and development. While the public sector has the key responsibility of creating the enabling environment for business to prosper, the private sector, on its part, must be prepared to face the challenges of today’s stiff global competition by strengthening capacity, embracing innovation, and working hand in hand with governments to invest in areas that are critical for economic growth,” said the African Union’s Commissioner of Economic Affairs, Professor Victor Harison, at the forum’s opening ceremony.

Raising awareness of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and its implications for the private and public sectors is another stated objective of the forum. All African speakers at the opening ceremony underscored the importance of the AfCFTA, including Ethiopian President Dr Mulatu Teshome, Commissioner Harison, Rwanda’s Prime Minister Mr. Edouard Ngirente and Mr. Melaku Ezezew of the Pan African Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The AfCFTA will create a single continental market for goods and services for Africa’s 1.2 billion people, expected to reach 2.5 billion by 2050. With it will come free movement of business persons and investments, as well as enhancement of competitiveness at the industry and enterprise levels. It is one of the key projects under Africa’s Agenda 2063 development framework.

At the political level, there was reaffirmation of the need to grow the Turkey-Africa partnership, with Turkish President Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdogan saying, “We highly value our cooperation with Africa. The forum should contribute to trade and investment between Turkey and Africa and we are keen to strengthen our relationship”. Similar sentiments were expressed by all the African speakers.

At the opening ceremony, two countries – Senegal and Zimbabwe – signed agreements with the Turkish government while the African Union, represented by Commissioner Harison, signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU).

The Africa-Turkey partnership is one of many that the African continent has entered into in order to boost its chances of attaining the aspirations, goals and targets set out in Agenda 2063. Other partnerships exist with the United Nations and its agencies, the European Union, South America, the League of Arab States, the United States, China and Korea.

Participants to the forum included ministers from Africa and Turkey, senior officials of the African Union Commission, non-governmental organisations, chambers of commerce and industry, business councils, entrepreneurs, diplomatic missions to Turkey, and the media. A final communiqué, highlighting all the areas of cooperation under the partnership as well as various commitments to come out of the forum, was issued at the forum’s conclusion.

Joint Communiqué

Turkey-Africa Economic and Business Forum

Under the leadership of H.E. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, President of the Republic of Turkey and H.E. Moussa Faki, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, the Second Africa-Turkey Economic and Business Forum was held in Istanbul, Turkey on 10-11 October 2018.

The Forum was organized by the African Union Commission and the Ministry of Trade of the Republic of Turkey in cooperation with the Foreign Economic Relations Board of Turkey (DEIK).

The Forum was honoured by the presence of H.E. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, President of the Republic of Turkey and H.E Mulatu Teshome, President of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and Rt. Honourable Edouard Ngirente Prime Minister of the Republic of Rwanda on behalf of H.E. Paul Kagame President of the Republic of Rwanda, and current Chairperson of the African Union.

In the spirit of closer relations between Turkey and African countries, and considering the substantial momentum in Turkey-Africa relations particularly since the declaration of Turkey as a strategic partner of the African Continent in 2008 and the First and Second Turkey-Africa Partnership Summits held in İstanbul in 2008 and in Malabo in 2014 respectively, it was agreed that it is prime to advance the African-Turkey cooperation and build on what has been accomplished thus far.

The Forum was attended by forty three (43) African Countries, Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), financial institutions from Turkey and Africa as well as private sector representatives.

During the Forum, discussions spanned issues related to “Financing of Trade and investment in Africa”, “Collaboration between Turkey and Africa on Construction, Infrastructure and Energy”, “Integration efforts of Africa and Market Opportunities for Business People”, and “ Fair, Free and Sustainable Trade”.

The Forum noted with satisfaction that the Turkey-Africa Partnership is growing, deepening and getting diversified and the readiness of the Turkish side to further strengthen the economic and commercial ties with African countries.

With a view of enhancing lasting partnership between Turkey and Africa for development and economic integration;

  1. The Forum decided to continue strengthening the current platform for collective dialogue, consolidate Africa-Turkey traditional friendship, deepen strategic collaboration and enhance the mechanism of practical cooperation between Turkey and Africa.

  2. Turkey and Africa reiterated their commitment to implement workable solutions that will increase economic resilience, sustain economic growth and decrease disparity, while improving the welfare of the people in Africa.

  3. The Forum underlined the importance of trade as one of the key engine of economic growth and a strong private sector would be a driving force in this respect.

  4. With a view to further enhancing commercial and economic cooperation between Turkey and African countries, the Forum reiterated its strong intention to initiate joint action plan to examine possibilities of removing tariffs and other obstacles to trade that would be based on asymmetrical model enabling African countries to protect their sensitive sectors.

  5. Taking into consideration that Turkey has shown remarkable performance with its steady growth over the last decade and being a major economic power in the region, Turkey expressed its readiness to share its development experience in different fields with African counterparts in order to broaden and strengthen the cooperation and trade relations among themselves.

  6. The Forum reaffirmed the critical role of the private sector in economic growth and development by generating decent employment in order to create greater opportunities for all, reduce inequalities, raise basic standards of living and ensure environmental protection. In this regard, the Forum underlined the necessity of supporting the private sector activities in Turkey and African countries in order to foster mutual investment and trade in each other’s countries.

  7. The Forum reiterated its position to prioritize infrastructure cooperation within the Turkey-Africa Partnership and strengthen cooperation in transport, electricity, energy and other areas of infrastructural development within the framework of Agenda 2063 and its flagship projects.

  8. To support African Countries in reducing energy costs and increasing access to electricity, decreasing transport costs, boosting intra-African trade, ensuring water and food security and increasing global connectivity; Turkey and the African Union will work together towards establishing a partnership in the design, inspection, financing and management of projects under the Program for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) and The Presidential Infrastructure Champion Initiative (PICI).

  9. The Forum recommended the participating countries to take necessary measures to encourage Turkish and African enterprises as well as financial institutions to expand investment and participate in infrastructure projects through various means, such as Public-Private Partnership (PPP) and Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT).

  10. The Forum underlined the importance of trade as a catalyst to significantly increase investments, transfer of know-how and the possibility to exchange knowledge and experience on issues related to development.

  11. The Forum expressed its support to the Agenda 2063 of the African Union and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development of the United Nations, based on inclusive growth and sustainable development of African countries.

  12. Noting the importance of the contribution of investments to capacity building in the socio-economic sectors, particularly in the human resource development, the Forum agreed to encourage mutual investment in order to build more diversified economies both in Turkey and in Africa.

  13. The Forum agreed to enhance information and experience sharing on investment policies, opportunities, regulations and recent economic developments and fields of cooperation in order to create more enabling environment for mutual investment.

  14. The Forum welcomed the increased investments in the infrastructure, construction and energy sectors, leading to a substantial expansion of Turkish investment securing the long-term sustainability for economic development in Africa.

  15. The Forum encouraged the private sector to invest in agriculture, electricity production, transmission and delivery facilities and services, aviation, maritime, education and health as priority areas, especially in small and medium scale enterprises development.

  16. The Forum underlined the importance of enhancing Africa’s manufacturing capacities through the establishment of regional manufacturing hubs as a means to increase intra-African trade.

  17. The Forum called upon Turkish and African financial institutions to enhance their cooperation, including opening more branches in their respective countries.

  18. The Forum recognized the important role of the African Union in promoting the integration of Africa.

  19. The Forum welcomed the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between African Union Commission and the Ministry of Trade of the Republic of Turkey on Trade and Investment Cooperation as an important milestone of the Turkey-Africa relationship.

  20. The Forum underlined the role of public communication for raising awareness on the benefits of the partnership.

  21. The Forum expressed its satisfaction on the achievements of mutual beneficial results and agreed to hold the next Turkey-Africa Economic and Business Forum in 2020.

  22. The Forum expressed its sincere appreciation to H.E President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Government and the people of the Republic of Turkey for the warm welcome extended to all delegations during the event.

  23. Finally, the Forum commended the partnership between the African Union Commission and the Ministry of Trade of the Republic of Turkey for successfully organizing this important event.



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