President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is scheduled to pay official visits to Sudan, Chad and Tunisia from Dec. 25 to Dec. 27 with a delegation of Turkish businesspeople.
On the trip, which was organized in coordination of the Economy Ministry, Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEİK) and Turkish Exporters' Assembly, the president will attend business forums in each country. On Monday, Dec. 25, Erdoğan will arrive in Sudan's capital Khartoum and fly to Chad's capital N'Djamena on Tuesday. On the last day of the three-day visit, the president is scheduled to fly to Tunis, the capital city of Tunisia.
The visit will be dominated by business forums to discuss investment, and Erdoğan is expected to sign cooperation deals in each state. The visit demonstrates Ankara's desire to strengthen ties with the three countries under its Africa partnership policy, a statement released by the presidency explained.
Turkish exports to Sudan have seen a rising trend over the years. The biggest jump was in 2014 at 38 percent as Turkish exports reached $425 million. Last year, exports to the country saw a limited increase to $462 million.
Imports from Sudan have been fluctuating. The biggest increase in imports from the country was in 2016 when Sudan's exports to Turkey doubled to $50 million.
Agriculture and livestock breeding are very important for the Sudanese economy. According to estimates prepared by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the agriculture sector contributed 22 percent to exports. Cotton, sesame, wheat, acacia and sorghum are the main exports.
Since Sudan produces vegetables and fruit in winter when Europe and North America cannot cultivate vegetables and fruit, Sudanese exports greatly benefit from this seasonal advantage. The country is also expected to become the second largest gold producer in Africa and ninth in the world as gold mining has gained momentum in recent years.
Within the agreement signed by the Agriculture and Livestock Ministry and the Sudanese Agriculture and Forestry Ministry, some 193,000 acres have been allocated to Turkish firms aspiring to operate in the Sudanese agricultural sector as an incentive.
Turkey's bilateral trade with Chad is relatively low. In 2016, the bilateral trade volume was slightly higher than $42 million in favor of Chad. In 2011, Turkey's exports to Chad increased, jumping from $5.8 million to $19 million in 2014. From 2015 to 2016, Turkish exports were $17 million to $18 million. Until 2015, bilateral trade favored Turkey, but for the last two years, imports from Chad outdid exports to the country.
In 2016, wheat flour was the most exported item to Chad, accounting for 70 percent of total exports to the country. Iron and steel products, yeast and pasta were other products Chad imported from Turkey.
The abundance of natural resources in Chad makes the country attractive for investment. In addition to sodium carbonate and kaolin resources, it also has uranium, bauxite, stannary, titanium and iron. The country exports oil to Atlantic coasts via a 1,074 kilometer pipeline to Cameroon.
Tunisia has one of most diversified economies and highest life standards in Africa. Its economy primarily relies on tourism, the service sector, agriculture, textile, oil and phosphate production. As part of the agreement signed with the European Union to eliminate customs on industrial products, it exports to EU countries with exemption for customs.
In 2016, the bilateral trade volume between Turkey and Tunisia reached $1.1 billion. Turkish exports to the country were $910 million and imports were $214 million.Turkey has observer status in the Africa Union and has raised its diplomatic profile on the continent, increasing its embassies from 12 in 2003 to 41, according to presidential spokesman İbrahim Kalın.