Minister Shava to address Türkiye-Africa Forum today

Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister, Ambassador Frederick Shava

THE 4th Türkiye-Africa Business and Economic Forum begins here today, with Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister, Ambassador Frederick Shava, expected to speak on unlocking trade and business opportunities between Zimbabwe and Türkiye this morning.

Ambassador Shava arrived here yesterday, and is leading Zimbabwe’s delegation that includes officials from ZimTrade, Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI), Government institutions and some private sector companies.

High profile officials expected to attend the forum include Türkiye President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and First Lady Emine Erdogan, and African Union Chairperson Comoros President Azali Assoumani.

Since Tuesday, it has been a hive of activity at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport and hotels as delegates started arriving.

The two-day Türkiye-Africa Business and Economic Forum, which ends tomorrow, is taking place at the Istanbul Congress Centre.

It is hosted by the Turkish Ministry of Trade in co-ordination with the African Union, and organised by the Foreign Economic Relations Board.

This year, it is running under the theme: “Addressing challenges, unlocking opportunities: Building stronger Türkiye-Africa economic partnerships”. Turkiye was until recent decades considered an undeveloped country, but has been industrialising fast in recent times and economically reached the stage sometime ago where it met developed country status. But its rapid economic development is both an example and a source of markets for many African countries.

In an interview yesterday, Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to Türkiye, Alfred Mutiwazuka, said: “The 4th Türkiye-Africa Economic Business Forum is starting tomorrow (today) and African ministers of Trade have started arriving, including our Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Honourable Frederick Shava.

“Ministers will deliberate on the forum’s theme and Minister Shava is scheduled to deliver remarks focusing on unlocking trade and business opportunities between Zimbabwe and Türkiye.

“He is also expected to engage the Türkiye business sector. The Zimbabwe delegation is also expected to pitch on investment opportunities in Zimbabwe and engage Türkiye’s private sector on transport, construction, manufacturing and agro-industries.” 

Over 3 000 Turkish and African participants are expected, including the African Union’s Commissioner for Economic Development, Trade, Tourism, Industry and Minerals Ambassador Albert Muchanga, Türkiye’s Minister of Trade Professor Ömer Bolat, DEIK president Nail Olpak, coordinator president of DEIK/Türkiye-Africa Business Councils Fuat Tosyali, and acting president of the African Business Council (AfBC) Dr Amany Asfour.

DEIK says it has turned to Africa as it continues with its business diplomacy activities to increase Türkiye’s international trade and investment with 152 business councils across the world.

The business and economic forum prioritises energy, infrastructure, agriculture, agribusiness, healthcare, tourism, and digital marketing sectors.

In the framework of its policy of opening up to Africa, Türkiye opened its embassy in Harare in 2011, a development that has boosted bilateral relations between Harare and Istanbul.

Zimbabwe opened an embassy in Ankara on October 3, 2019, and the frequency of high-level contacts has increased between the two countries.

Bilateral trade volumes reached US$17,7 million in 2019, with Turkish exports being US$5,9 million while its imports amounted to US$11,8 million.

Zimbabwe’s main export items are platinum, cotton, tobacco, gold, iron, textile and ready wear, while its main imports are machinery and vehicles, other finished products, chemicals, fuel and foodstuffs.

Last year, Turkish exports to Zimbabwe were US$19,92 million, according to the United Nations Comtrade database on international trade.

Through the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA), Türkiye is providing development assistance to Zimbabwe in various sectors. It has also been providing scholarship grants to students from Zimbabwe since 1992.

At the forum today, there will be panels on collaboration on manufacturing and agro-industries, Africa digital transformation, and health technology assessment.

Simultaneously, there will be government-to-business sessions focusing on infrastructure investment opportunities mainly energy, telecommunication and transportation networks, governance and food security, tourism and digital marketing technology.

Tomorrow, there will be panels on Türkiye-Africa Women Leadership Dialogue, Türkiye and opportunities under the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), and investment and trade financing in Africa and banking relations with Türkiye.

Africa, the largest global free trade area, is expected to create a free trade market with a population of 1,3 billion people and a value of US$3,4 trillion.

With AfCFTA, intra-African trade is expected to increase by 50 percent and that it provides the world an additional income of US$76 billion.

AfCTFA Secretary General Mr Wamkele Mene, is expected to present on the impact of the AfCFTA agreement on trade between Türkiye and Africa.

In 2003, Türkiye’s total trade volume with the African continent was US$$1,35 billion, and hit US$40,7 billion last year.

This year’s target is US$50 billion, with a subsequent goal of reaching US$75 billion. Türkiye is actively enhancing its economic relations with African countries under a win-win principle, as a strategic partner for the continent’s integration, economic development, and industrial growth.

Istanbul’s exports to Africa were US$21,2 billion in 2021 and rose to US$23,6 billion in 2022, while its imports from Africa were US$9,5 billion in 2022.


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