Vice President Yilmaz: Turkiye’s Trade Volume with the African Continent Reached $37 Billion in 2023

Vice President Cevdet Yilmaz said, “Our trade volume with the African continent, which was $5.4 billion in 2003, reached $37 billion in 2023.”

In his speech at the Turkiye-Tanzania Business Forum held in a hotel in Istanbul, Vice President Yilmaz said that Turkiye continues to contribute to the development and progress of the African continent in all fields on the basis of brotherhood.

Yilmaz noted that they are always in good spirits with the sister continent and its people through institutions such as THY, TIKA, Maarif Foundation and Yunus Emre Institute, which fly to 62 destinations on the continent. He stated that the number of embassies in Africa, which was 12 in 2002, has reached 44 today, and that the number of African embassies in Ankara has increased from 10 at the beginning of 2008 to 38 today.

Vice President Yilmaz pointed out that the increased contacts with the “Strategy for the Development of Commercial and Economic Relations with African Countries” manifest themselves in both the strong political and friendship ties with the countries of the continent and in the economic, trade and investment relations, and stated that the number of business councils established with African countries by the Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEIK) reached 48.

Stating that the market value of Turkish investments in Africa exceeds $10 billion, Yilmaz explained that contracting companies operating in the continent have undertaken 1885 projects with a market value of approximately $87 billion to date.

Pointing out that commercial relations with African countries are improving day by day on the basis of mutual understanding and win-win principles, Yilmaz said, “Our trade volume with the African continent, which was $5.4 billion in 2003, reached $37 billion in 2023. During this period, we see that our exports increased from $2.1 billion to $22 billion and our imports increased from $3.3 billion to $15 billion. These are very important developments, but we still have a long way to go. I would like to express this as well.”

Yilmaz underlined that Turkiye’s perspective on Africa is extremely strong and continued as follows:

“We believe that the 21st century will be the ‘Turkiye Century’ and the ‘Africa Century’. Africa is an extremely young and dynamic continent. I served as Minister of Development for a long time in the past. I would always underline that population dynamics are very important. It is thought that nearly half of the world’s population growth in the 21st century will come from Africa. And when this population, the young, dynamic population, joins the world economy with better education and an entrepreneurial culture, it will both strengthen the development of the world economy and take Africa to a very different level. I believe this wholeheartedly.”

“We need to get rich before getting old”

Emphasizing that it is necessary to get rich before getting older, Yilmaz said that they see that some continents and countries, especially Europe, are getting older.

Yilmaz emphasized that these old continents can manage with their elderly populations if they are rich, and said, “But if you are both poor and old, that is very bad. Therefore, it is necessary to get rich before getting old. I wholeheartedly believe that Africa will achieve this.”

Stating that Turkiye has an important and privileged position in African relations with Tanzania’s recent reforms and the high growth rate it has achieved, Yilmaz said that the climate of friendship and brotherhood they have developed towards this country ties them together more and eliminates the obstacles and distances between them.

Yilmaz underlined that the visit of Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan and her delegation to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was a milestone of historical importance that will further advance bilateral relations, and said that productive meetings were held in Ankara yesterday and very important agreements were signed.

Wishing that this visit from Tanzania to Turkiye at the Presidential level after 14 years will be beneficial, Yilmaz stated that the bilateral trade volume with the friendly country Tanzania, which was approximately $11 million in 2003, reached approximately $350 million in 2023.

Vice President Yilmaz said, “Turkish contractors have undertaken 14 projects worth $6.4 billion in Tanzania to date. We see that this is an extremely important figure. The improving investment environment and possible cooperation opportunities increase the interest of Turkish companies in Tanzania. With its globally competitive, corporate and specialized structure, Turkish companies stand out in cooperation for Tanzania’s infrastructure and investment needs.”

“Turkiye approaches Africa with a very different perspective”

Vice President Cevdet Yilmaz made the following statements:

“I would also like to underline this: As Turkiye, we do not have the baggage of colonialism in our past, thank God. Turkiye approaches Africa with a very different perspective. It approaches with the principle of win-win. Our companies add value to that country wherever they go. They contribute to the development of business and entrepreneurship there. On the one hand, they increase the quality of the workforce there. In this sense, I would like to express that Turkish companies have made extremely positive contributions both in terms of trade and our bilateral relations.”

Stating that President Erdogan and Tanzanian President Hassan have set a trade target of $1 billion, Yilmaz stated that he believes that when they work together as the public and private sectors, they will reach this target in the near future and go much beyond it.

Noting that the large-scale projects undertaken by Turkish companies in Tanzania are promising and exemplary, Yilmaz stated that there are many opportunity areas to expand Turkiye-Tanzania cooperation, especially in the energy, mining, transportation, tourism, agriculture, food, renewable energy and contracting sectors. And stated that they know that there are job opportunities in the Turkish construction industry, especially in housing, shopping malls, congress and conference centers, and road and bridge construction.

Pointing out the importance of new ties and collaborations between business people in this regard, Yilmaz quoted President Erdogan’s statements that it is now time to fully use their potential in Turkiye-Tanzania commercial relations.

“I believe that by making the best use of this potential, you will easily exceed the figures reached today in Turkiye-Tanzania bilateral trade, economic and investment relations in the coming period.” Yilmaz stated that their goal is to highlight the advantages of the two countries and create new cooperation opportunities on the basis of brotherhood, friendship and mutual understanding.

Pointing out that the common goal is to facilitate the business and investment processes to be established, Yilmaz added that they should increase cooperation opportunities with different organizations such as business and investment forums, business council meetings and mutual trade delegations in the future.

Forum continues with sessions

President Hassan of Tanzania, Minister of Family and Social Services Mahinur Ozdemir Goktas, Minister of Trade Omer Bolat, Tanzanian Minister of Industry and Trade Ashatu Kijaji, Turkiye’s Ambassador to Dar es Salaam Mehmet Gulluoglu, DEIK President Nail Olpak, DEIK Turkiye-Tanzania Business Council President Erdem Arioglu, and several business representatives attended the program.

Tanzanian President Hassan, Trade Minister Bolat and DEIK President Olpak also spoke at the program.

While the opening program ends with the protocol members taking a family photo, the forum continues with sessions.

Source: AA / Prepared by Irem Yildiz

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