Turkey to prioritize Africa in 2020

By Merve Ozlem Cakir

ANKARA (AA) – Turkey will attach more importance in 2020 to Africa, which possesses important potential, said Turkey's trade minister.

Market diversification is important for Turkey because the world faces trade wars and protectionism, Ruhsar Pekcan told Anadolu Agency.

Noting that Turkey's exports rose yearly by 10% to North Africa and 12% to other African countries in 2019, Pekcan stressed that a Turkey-Africa summit would be organized this April with the participation of country leaders.

She said the Trade Ministry and the Foreign Economic Relations Board of Turkey would hold another event, the Turkey-Africa Economy and Business Forum, in October 2020.

Pekcan, who visited Nigeria and Morocco this week to increase economic and trade relations, met the two countries' top officials and attended joint business events.

"Nigeria has a big potential, it is one of the richest countries in western Africa, there are significant cooperation opportunities for us," she said.

During the visit, the sides discussed reciprocal measures to promote and protect investments, avoid double taxation and increase cooperation on customs, halal accreditation and Turkish Airlines' flights between the two countries, recounted Pekcan.

Turkey aims to sign an economic and trade cooperation agreement with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), in which Nigeria is an important actor, she added.

On her visit to Morocco, she said Turkish businesspeople saw the country as a door to the African continent.

"Our firms from many sectors, from aviation to automotive, heavy, vehicles, defense, [crop] fertilizer, textiles, apparel, shoes, to packaging and logistics, took part in our meetings," Pekcan said.

*Writing by Gokhan Ergocun from Istanbul