TURKEY’S Deputy Foreign Minister Yasin Ekrem Serim revealed a remarkable surge in trade volume between Turkey and African countries during his address at the closing of the 9th World Cooperation Industries Forum (WCI Forum) held in Istanbul. The trade volume has increased eightfold over the last two decades, reaching an impressive $40 in 2022.
Speaking at the event, Serim emphasised the significance of the African continent in the 21st century, highlighting its rich cultural heritage and enormous potential. He stated that Turkey’s trade with Africa has undergone exponential growth, rising from $5.4bn in 2003 to $40.7bn in 2022. Additionally, direct investments have exceeded $6bn.
Serim also acknowledged President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s active role in engaging with African nations, positioning him as the world leader with the highest number of visits to the continent.
Turkish companies have played a substantial role in Africa’s economic landscape by providing employment to approximately 100,000 people. Serim announced that the 4th Turkey-Africa Business and Economic Forum is scheduled for October.
The two-day forum, organised by the Turkish Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEIK) in coordination with the Trade Ministry and the African Union (AU), is expected to draw 3,000 participants to Istanbul on October 12-13. The forum’s main theme, Addressing Challenges, Unlocking Opportunities: Building Stronger Turkey-Africa Economic Partnerships, will focus on sectors such as energy, infrastructure, agriculture, agribusiness, healthcare, tourism, and digital marketing.
Prominent figures slated to attend the event include President Erdoğan, African Union head Azali Assoumani, Trade Minister Ömer Bolat, and Albert Muchanga, Commissioner for Economic Development, Trade, Industry, and Mining at the African Union Commission (AUC).
Serim also underscored Turkey’s efforts in establishing the landmark Black Sea grain initiative, which plays a crucial role in ensuring food security on the African continent amid crises like climate change and the Russia-Ukraine war.
Furthermore, Serim highlighted Türkiye’s expanding diplomatic presence in Africa, noting that the number of embassies has grown significantly. In 2012, Turkey had only 12 embassies on the continent, but by 2023, this number has risen to 44. In a significant shift, 38 sub-Saharan African countries now maintain embassies in Ankara, showcasing the deepening ties between Türkiye and Africa.