Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has begun his four-day diplomatic tour to Angola, Nigeria and Togo in a bid to tighten political, humanitarian, economic and cultural ties.
“We’re becoming Africa’s leading trade partner,” Erdogan said on Sunday during a press conference in Istanbul before his departure.
“Our relations with African countries are not based on colonialism and we want to succeed together with our brothers and sisters across the continent,” Erdogan said.
The trip is significant as Turkey is hosting two important events in Istanbul: a two-day Turkey-Africa 3rd Economy and Business Summit on Oct 21, and a two-day Turkey-Africa 3rd Partnership Summit on Dec 17.
Turkey aims to contribute to the economic and social development of the continent with peace and stability, as well as to develop bilateral relations on the basis of equal partnership and mutual benefit.
To this effect, the number of Turkish embassies in Africa has increased from just 12 in 2002 to 43 in 2021.
Trade volume rising
Turkey’s trade with Africa was $5.4 billion at the end of 2003, which climbed to $25.3 billion by 2020, despite the coronavirus pandemic.
Erdogan is set to meet his Angolan counterpart Joao Lourencho as well as attend a forum with businesspeople from both the countries.
Erdogan hosted Lourencho in July, and the two leaders inked agreements of cooperation on air transport, mutual promotion of investments, hydrocarbons and mining, renewable energy, and visa exemptions.
Sources said Erdogan will also meet Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and attend the Turkey-Nigeria Business Forum on his second visit to the West African country.
Nigeria is Turkey’s top trading partner in Sub-Saharan Africa with a trading volume of $754 million in 2020, which is expected to rise to more than $1 billion.
Togo will be President Erdogan’s last stop, where he will discuss ways to improve bilateral relations and expansion of bilateral trade, which was $150 million in 2020.