Turkey has embarked on a plan to increase its presence and interaction with Africa.
Turkish State Minister Zafer Çağlayan has urged Turkish businesspeople to consider Ethiopia as a gateway to African countries as well as called on Ethiopian businesspeople to use Turkey as a base to open up to markets in Europe and Asia.
Speaking at the opening of the Turkey-Ethiopia Trade and Investment Forum in Addis Ababa, Çağlayan said: “We have come here with a loan agreement in hand. The Turkish Eximbank will sign a $100 million loan agreement to support Turkish businesspeople investing in Ethiopia.”
Çağlayan said his visit aimed at developing relations further between Turkey and Ethiopia as well as boosting trade volume and encouraging Turkish and Ethiopian businesspeople to work together in third countries.
“Total trade of Turkey with whole African continent was $5 billion in 2003. This figure amounted to $17 billion in the past 7 years. Turkey’s exports to Africa increased to between $9 billion and $10 billion in the recent years,” he said.
“Turkey’s AYKA company in Ethiopia has the biggest textile factory in Africa,” he said.
The Turkish minister said Turkey’s prospective investments in Ethiopia would amount to some $1.4 billion, employing nearly 30,000 Ethiopian people.
According to the foreign trade minister, Turkey’s exports to Ethiopia are around $170 million annually, while it imports up to $45 million. “The African country’s total imports are $7 billion per year. If we show more of an effort, Turkey’s exports to Ethiopia will easily reach into the billions,” Çağlayan said.
Turkey has one of the fastest growing economies in the Middle East and is looking to expand business and investment ties to new regions other than Asia and the Middle East. This also highlights a growing importance of Turkey trying to spread its reach and influence which falls in line with Turkey’s current leadership whom are interested in raising Turkey’s global stature.