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Perşembe, Eylül 28, 2023

General Outlook of Economic Relations Among Turkey and Africa

Africa is recently the continent which Turkey pays attention to its relations and it is possible to accept it as a sign for our insight of foreign policy. Beside its developed industry and qualified labor force ,Turkey has carried out great efforts about improving relations with African countries thanks to its experience in international market.

Africa, recently seen that it has shown significant efforts about political, economic and in the case of solving the problems they encounter in social area has been increasing its strategic importance amongst countries by means of both rich natural resources and its young population and has been carrying importance with respect to its economic stability and growth.

It is known that Africa has caught growing rates which can be expressed as stable and it has increased its interest by foreign financial support and investments in the span of time more than 5 years. When examined the topic improvements, it is seen that although it is possible to talk about partial recovery, this improvements have limited effects on decreasing poverty and integrating with world economy. It is a widely accepted idea that Africa needs investment and trade availability rather than financial support. As a result, it is expressed that on the occasion of increasing Africa’s share by the rate of % 1 in world trade , the continent may earn seven times more than yearly grant to the continent.

On the other side, it is necessary that the other countries in Africa must pursue more active politics and must be supported it in this respect in line with industrial development goals. Implementing dynamic investments, increasing intra continental trade size, strengthening private sector, decreasing brain drain, improving standardization and intra technological skills are amongst the prominent subjects. Africa’s achievement for industrialization transformation is directly related with increasing product diversity and removing concerns on economic transformation. However, it is obvious that some obstacles stand still in this matter .Especially, the compared superiorities which the continent gives less importance in global competetion and as a result, there is a obligation to increase product diversity .On the other hand, while planning in the area of technology is among the leading ignored subjects, recently it has been one of the notable subjects as taken into consideration in a great deal. African Union has stressed more obviously that more determined steps will be taken.

On the other hand, infrastructure must be improved in Africa. As known, infrastructure has comprised the base of economic development . This case especially reveals transportation and energy subjects. The problem of high cost especially has been problematic for shorless countries .For example, the transportation by sea from Japan to Ivory Coast has been costing 1500 dollar including insurance, the cost of the same vehicle for transporting from Etiopia to Ivory coast may reach 5000 dollar . Most of the ports in Africa is quite inadequete with respect to equipment .Besides, it is possible to express that Yamoussoukru decision is a crucial improvement with respect to freeing air transportation services. Although Africa continent is quite rich with respect to petrol, coal, hydroelectric and renewable energy , the problems the distance of the sources to the centre, the infrastructure inadequacy of distribution networks and high cost and also security problem has been added as such problems.

Regional Economic Communities has a great deal of responsibilities with respect to solving the problems. The agriculture sector in Africa has been among the leading subjects for economic growth and provision of nourishment security and recently it is necesary to distribute early warning system related with nourishment security to the all regions of the continent. Kahire and Lizbon summits with European Union , increasing of visit traffic of USA and forums which have been recently implemented and will be repeated in the future by the countries which has been developing quickly as Chinese Republic and India and Brasil can be expressed as a clear sign of attention the continent. Africa is recently the continent which Turkey pays attention to its relations and it is possible to accept it as a sign for our insight of foreign policy. Beside its developed industry and qualified labor force, Turkey has carried out great efforts about improving relations with African countries thanks to its experience in international market. In line with this, increasing mutual trade size with our partners in the continent and developing of mentioned connections with our new partners have been carrying a vital importance.

While our relations with Africa has experienced a transformation in the late 90s , The Declination action plan to Africa accepted in 1998 generally has aimed to implement ranking visits mutually with African countries , increasing contacts with African countries by international and regional establishments, implementing humanitarian aids , increasing the number of diplomatic representations of Turkey in the continent, signing of economic, technical, scientific collaboration and trade agreements and Turkey’s intimacy with Africa in all areas. In this respect, while putting into practice “Strengthening of Economic and Trade relations with Africa in 2003, in 2005 announcing The African year in Turkey, and again the same year Turkey’s starting participating to Africa Assosiation usual summit as the statue of observer member, announcement of Turkey as strategical partner in 2008 january and the membership of African development bank have been bases for our relations.

It is possible to express that, Besides Turkey’s infrastructure and African economies have the features to complete each other, Africa is on the occasion of one of the the target markets with respect to most Turkish KOBİ. Furthermore, It is impossibleto ignore our cultural and historical ties with Africa on the point of improving our commercial relations. Turkey-Africa collaboration summits with the theme of ‘solidarity and colloboration for a common future, which were carried out in 2008 August and which is expected to redone once in five years have summarized the point that relations arrived and also Istanbul declaration and Colloboration Frame document for Partnership which was accepted in the end of summit will conduce to sustain the relations more planned and programmed. Again in the extent of summit with the support of DEİK and TOBB, T.C Presidency undersecretariat of foreign trade, It gathered business world together with Turkey-Africa Businessman summit.

Also, TASAM African Institute by means of implementing STK forum has signed a project needed in the area of civil society. As a result, it is possible to express that accepted collaboration areas in three platforms coincide with each other in a great scale and in any case , an active foreign partnership must cover all socio economic actors. Turkey’s increasing its investments in the region by improving competition force and providing technical help in the experienced areas for African countries are among the foremost subjects in point with mentioned commercial relations. On the contrary to this, as result of feeling the effect of stability in global economy more severely this year, our trade size which was explained as 8.9 billion dolar last year in June has regressed as 7.8 billion dollar by the fall rate of approximately % 12 .While the mentioned regression has been felt by more severely in the sub Saharan African countries by the rate of % 25, our regression rate in our foreign trade size with North African countries has been estimated as the rate of % 4.

Despite the mentioned regression rates, With Egypt and, in the works council connected to DEİK in which I have been chosen as co-president, our trade size has shown rise with the rate of % 47 in Egypt which have been been as co-president in works council connected to DEİK, and Libya has shown rise % 42. On the other hand , despite not reflecting the real potential, it is possible to evaluate our foreign trade size which has shown more serious increasing in the mentioned period in the region countries as Chad, Equetorial Guinea, Gambia, Gana. Camerun, Congo D.C, Liberia, Mozambic and Uganda, as promising.

On the other side when examined product trade of USA with Africa last year, it has been seen that importation cost 28 billion 392 million dollar and exportation 113 billion 395 million dollar. However, in the first seven months of this year the exportation of ABD has been explained as 13 billion 550 millon dollar and exportation as 30 billion 737 million dollar.

Table 1: Our importations and Exportations with African Countries. (US Dollar) Source: Under Secretary for International Trade
Table 1: Our importations and Exportations with African Countries. (US Dollar) Source: Under Secretary for International Trade

It is abvious that our membership to African development Bank carries a great importance with respect to the future and stability of world that the mentioned membership implemented in the short period will contribute to mutual benefits and it will encourage the especially enterprises of the Turkish consruction business in Africa. Furthermore, it ia necessery not to ignore that our embassies which will be opened in the forthcoming term will support this process positively.

Table 2. Volume of Trade with African Countries. (US Dollar) Source: Under Secretary for International Trade
Table 2. Volume of Trade with African Countries. (US Dollar) Source: Under Secretary for International Trade

Africa must have the priority in the case of development aids. Turkey’s development aids to the region is inclined to increase even if it is inadequate as of today’s world humanitariana assisstance. It should’t be forgetten that in the result of these enterprises, as expressed before, Turkey gained the status of observer country in 12 April 2005 The supports provided in health by Turkish Red Crescent and in education by Ministry of national education are among the subjects which has necessity in the respect of improving.

The increasing of these aids asstably in the forthcoming process will contribute to development of life standart of the people in the continent, decreasing of poverty and catching of sustainable development. The projects which TİKA has implemented in Africa has much importance on improving economic and social infrastructure, developing cultural collaboration and communication for supporting mutual relations.

Table 3. African Countries to which Turkey exports the most (US Dollar) Source: Under Secretary for International Trade
Table 3. African Countries to which Turkey exports the most (US Dollar) Source: Under Secretary for International Trade

In this extent, cultural relations also must be taken into consideration and in this matter Civil Society Associations and Media has crucial responsibilities. The increasing of the flight numbers to the continent by THY in the forthcoming process is another important subject for improving our foreign trade size. Official establisments are foremost and necessary matters with respect to founding a corporation between civil society and business world; development , security and in reaching the goals in the human rights.

Table 4. African Countries from which Turkey imports the most (US Dollar) Source: Under Secretary for International Trade
Table 4. African Countries from which Turkey imports the most (US Dollar) Source: Under Secretary for International Trade

Strenghtening the ties between mentioned actors in the development of economic, political and socio-cultural relations are among the prior matters. It is necessary to stress that we should not sink into despair as a result of the falls in our foreign trade size due to the stability in world ecenomy in the last period. Stepping compatibly with the frame of mutual confidence and insight will lead to multi-sided improvements between Turkey and Africa.

Table 5. Turkey’s African Trade Partners (US Dollar) Source: Under Secretary for International Trade
Table 5. Turkey’s African Trade Partners (US Dollar) Source: Under Secretary for International Trade

The more active resulting of decisive and systematic policies which Turkey has applied with the frame of strategical partnership since the middle of the 2000s with Africa before society will be possible by means of strenghtening the ties between business world and cvil society on accounts of gathering together in common platform .In this way, Collaboration Summit which was carried out last year and other enterprises in the extent of the summit will be able to reach their aims.

This article was taken from “Africa Time” magazine by demanding all necessary permissions for copyright.



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