NAIROBI, SEPTEMBER 13 ― Kenya is hoping to seal major trade deals and boost its bilateral ties with Turkey as Africa moves to this years’ Turkey-Africa Economic and Business Forum (TABEF 2018) in Istanbul.
The country’s private sector lobby institution-The Kenya Private Sector Alliance is leaving nothing to chance as it rallies business entities in the country to ensure representation at the forum, which will bring together companies from over 50 African Countries, over 1,500 Turkish Companies and over 7,000 participants.
The forum which will include Business to Business meets and match making between African companies and Turkish companies from all sectors, will also provide a platform for possible intra-African deals.
“KEPSA together with the Turkish Embassy in Nairobi extend an exclusive invitation for you to attend the Turkey-Africa Economic and Business Forum to be held under the auspices of H.E. Recep Tayyip ERDOGAN, President of the Republic of Turkey at Istanbul Lutfi Kirdar ICEC in Istanbul,” THE Kepsa secretariat said in an invite to the business community.
The forum is scheduled for October 9 – October 11.
During the three days event, African countries and their respective institutions will get to discuss opportunities, establish relationships with Turkish public and private operators, demonstrate expertise and business while meeting Turkish and regional managers and economic experts.
The forum is being jointly organized by the Ministry of Trade of the Republic of Turkey and Foreign Economic Relations Board of Turkey (DEiK) with the collaboration of African Union Commission (AUC) under the motto of “Invest in a Sustainable Future Together”.
Bilateral relations between Kenya and Turkey have continued to strengthen with the country opening its Embassy in Ankara in the year 2012.
In April 2014, President Uhuru Kenyatta visited Turkey with various agreements and MoU’s being signed during his visit.
They covered security, trade, energy, mining, financial and technical cooperation among other areas.
Bilateral trade volume between the two countries amounted to US$141 million in 2016 (imports from Turkey: US$127.9 million, exports to Turkey: US$13.1 million). In the first 11 months of 2017, the overall trade volume between the two countries surpassed US$159 million.
Kenya’s major imports from Turkey include coal bitumen and petroleum products, transportation machinery, cereal products, textile fibers, fertilizers, machinery, steel, rubber, furniture and plastic products.
On the other hand, Kenya exports rawhide and related products, tea, coffee, spices,textile fibers, fish and raw materials for dye and paints.
In recent years, as relations with Africa became an important policy priority, Turkey started to be recognized as a leading emerging development partner in Kenya.
The Turkish International Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) has developed various projects particularly in the fields of health, food, agriculture, livestock and education.
Kenyan experts participate in capacity-development programs in the areas of security, agriculture, education and health conducted by various Turkish Ministries and agencies.
To Turkey, Kenya remains a key entry point to the East Africa Community (EAC), the Common Market for Eastern and Central Africa (Comesa) and the South Africa Development Community (SADC) starting mid-2014.
Both countries have agreed to prioritise trade, industrialisation, transport, agriculture, tourism, education, health, immigration, science and technology, and development of arid lands.
Kenya is eyeing Turkey as a potential large scale buyer of its tea, coffee and flowers.
Turkey has been eying to establish an export processing zone in Nairobi as part of its outreach efforts to the regional market.
The transcontinental Eurasian nation has long-standing historical and cultural relations with the African continent dating back centuries.
Turkey’s decade-long economic boom has been accompanied by a renewed interest in Africa and the trade volume with the continent quadrupled to US$18.9 billion in 2017. Exports to Africa were valued at US$11.6 billion and imports US$7.1 billion.
The country’s long term companionship with Africa on the win-win basis and the attainment of Africa rising vision hinging on the motto of “African issues need African solutions” would form a meaningful cooperation by combining Turkish know-how with African resources.
This years’ forum will provide a platform for the business circles from African countries to meet with their Turkish counterparts to develop new partnerships which aims to build together, produce together, sell what’s produced together and share the profit.
Turkey’s Trade and Economic Enhancement Strategy towards Africa lies behind the gradual boom of the Turkey’s bilateral relations with the African countries since 2003.
In response to the changing conditions and needs of the continent, the strategy has been updated during the Turkey-Africa Partnership Summit in Malabo-Equatorial Guinea in 2014 and its vision and objectives have been modified aiming to increase the Turkish Foreign Direct Investments (FDI’s) to Africa, job opportunities for domestic people and creating an environment conducive to economic development of African countries.
Turkey’s 15-year Africa Initiative Policy has increased economic cooperation, while also bringing political relations to the next level.
The experience of Turkish businesspeople has been transferred to the region and it has contributed to the development of African countries.