Erdogan said that Africa's priorities were Turkey's as well.
PHOTO: Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan (third left) with other African ministers and dignitaries during the launch of the Turkey-Africa Economic and Business Forum in Istanbul Turkey on November 2, 2016. Second right is Nihat Zeybekci (clapping), the Turkish Minister for the Economy. Second and third from right on the back row is Werikhe Kafabusa, Uganda’s Minister of State for Trade and Ronald Kibuule, the State Minister for Water Resources, who had represented the Uganda Government on the forum
By Isaac Omoding in Istanbul, Turkey
The President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has highlighted the growing trade cooperation between Turkey and Africa.
Erdogan said that “Turkey’s foreign direct investments in the continent have reached $3.9b. The trade volume between Turkey and the continent increased to $17.5b in 2015 from $7b in 2005."
He said these on, November 2, 2016 during the opening the Turkey – Africa Economic and Business Forum in Istanbul Turkey, where about 110 Ugandans attended. Seventy (70) these being and coming from the Uganda National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (UNCCI), an umbrella organisation for trades and business community in Uganda. These were led by James Lalobo, the UNCCI director from Amurata.
Erdogan said that Africa's priorities were Turkey's as well.
He also said that Turkish investors have shown interest in the continent in recent years.
Werikhe Kafabusa, Uganda’s Minister of State for Trade shakes hands with Nihat Zeybekci, the Turkish Minister for the Economy at the close of the forum on November 3, 2016, in Istanbul, Turkey. PHOTO: Isaac Omoding
Quoting African proverb, President Erdogan said, “If you want to go fast, you go alone but, “If you want to go far, we will go together, hand in hand, shoulder to shoulder and side by side,".
He highlighted Turkey's strategy to enhance bilateral trade with the African continent.
“We share a common fate. We consider the priority of the African continent as our priority. There is a nice African proverb that says one day's rain cannot get deep into the soil. We would like to remain friends forever,” he said.
Turkey has also been accepted as a non-regional member of the African Development Bank since 2008. First an observer country in 2005 then a strategic partner in 2008 of the African Union.
Erdogan castigated the Western world for still furthering its colonial agenda by using globalisation saying: “In the name of globalisation, one growth model has been dictated to different countries," he said. “If you want to grow your economy, you need to find the IMF, the World Bank or an interest rate hike. You must obey the definition of democracy. In order to be part of the global system, you have to obey the current system unconditionally.”
Werikhe Kafabusa, Uganda’s Minister of State for Trade (centre) listens to Uganda’s ambassador to Turkey, Johnson Agara Olwa (left) at Hilton Hotel, Istanbul Turkey on November 3, 2016 at the close of the Turkey-Africa Economic and Business Forum. Right is Salim Alaybeyi, the vice-president of Molino company that specialises in mechanical industry and trade. Alaybeyi, through Molino, want to invest in the productions and export of cereals in Uganda. PHOTO: Isaac Omoding
He said, "The culture of our African brothers is not taken into consideration. The contemporary globalisation is a new form of colonialism, of modern slavery.”
The Government of Uganda was represented by the State Minister for Trade Werikhe Kafabusa, who called on Ugandans to take advantage of the willingness of Turkey to extend business opportunities to Uganda’s traders and investors. He cited example of the Exim Bank of Turkey that is willing to lend at 2% interest rate.
He said that Turkey had put aside $350m for Turkish investors ready to invest in Uganda. He said these Turkish investors are ready to invest in the sectors such as infrastructure, energy, food production and processing, training in technological transfer, cotton productions and textiles manufacture, value addition and tourism.
Werikhe and Ronald Kibuule, the State minister for Water Resources, were among the 110 Ugandans who attended the forum that was jointly organised by the Turkish Ministry of Economy, the African Union Commission, the Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEIK) and the Turkish Exporters Assembly (TIM), aims to provide a platform for business circles of Turkey and African countries to create a long-lasting cooperation.
Uganda’s ambassador to Turkey, Johnson Agara Olwa, said that when President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited Uganda in June, 2016, seven memoranda of understanding were signed and two were being finalised by the relevant officers of these two states. Olwa said the two, once signed, would potential unlock all the current hindrances to trading among the two countries. These agreements are to do with promotion and protection of investors and double taxation.
Werikhe Kafabusa, Uganda’s Minister of State for Trade (third right) with Nihat Zeybekci, the Turkish Minister for the Economy (second left) at the close of the forum on November 3, 2016, in Istanbul,Turkey with other delegates. Right is Edward Mwesigwa Bamanya, a senior commercial officer of the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives and second right is Nancy Nasikye Tolofaina, the accounting manager of the Ugandan Embassy in Ankara, Turkey.
Olwa said that many Turkish investors and traders are ready for Uganda. He cited as an example, a company called Molino specialising in mechanical industry and trade, whose vice-president, M. Salim Alaybeyi, met Minister Werikhe at the Hilton Hotel in Istanbul emphasising their readiness for Uganda mainly to invest in cereals production and processing for export.
Olwa said that Turkey-Uganda trade volume now stands at $29m.
The Turkish president also stressed terrorism's role in damaging economic growth and asked African nations to support his country in its fight against terrorism.
“The international fight against terrorism needs international solidarity, otherwise we will fail,” he said.
During the July 15 coup attempt, 246 people were martyred and 2,194 others injured.
Erdogan said that Turkey would seek to increase its diplomatic representations on the continent, from the current 39. “We are going to establish an embassy in every country of the African continent,” he said.