Two major business associations from Turkey and Nigeria have signed a deal that will open doors to more trade between the two countries. The Turkish Exporters Assembly (TİM) and Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) yesterday inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) at the Turkish-Nigeria Business Forum in Lagos, Nigeria's commercial capital.
Both parties stressed the need to strengthen bilateral economic ties at the signing ceremony.
The forum was followed by business-to-business meetings between dozens of investors in the Turkish trade mission and several business concerns from Nigeria.
"The [bilateral trade] volume could be raised considerably," said TİM representative Abdullah Keskin, before the signing ceremony.
"We believe that by improving our relations, and by sharing our experiences, we will add more products to this trade route and mutually increase the trade volume," Keskin said, adding that the business communities in both countries can leverage the improved political relationships between Nigeria and Turkey and deepen trade relations to the benefit of both sides.
Keskin said the trade volume between Nigeria and Turkey stood at $490 million last year. He added that this fell short of expectations and called for better economic ties between Abuja and Ankara.
"We believe that events of this sort where our businesspeople discuss trade opportunities will serve both sides well. Turkey, with the leadership of our President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has been implementing a policy of opening up to African states since 2006," he said.
"This policy was transformed into a partnership with Africa following the Second Turkey-Africa Cooperation Summit and Turkey-Africa Business and Economy Forum, held in November 2016. As part of this process, we would like to strengthen our bonds with Afr
ica in every aspect of our relations. "Moreover, we look forward to creating a permanent and sustainable future together because our approach is based on the 'win-win' philosophy," Keskin said.
Osman Askay, chairman of the Turkey-Nigeria Business Council, said the event was meant to improve relations between the business communities of both countries.
"Our focus is to raise bilateral trade volumes to over $2 billion in the next two years. We believe Nigeria offers a good market for Turkish investors," Askay told Anadolu Agency (AA) on the sideline of the event.
Soboma Ajumogobia, vice president of the LCCI, said the body is ready to collaborate with the Turkish Embassy in Nigeria "to advance trade and investment relations between the two countries."
"I am very happy that the Turkish Embassy in Nigeria is working to strengthen economic cooperation between Turkey and Nigeria. I am hopeful that the outcome of this mission will encourage potential Turkish investors to come and take advantage of this huge market," he said.
Ajumogobia said Turkey's major exports to Nigeria include clothing, food, engine and automobile parts, and pharmaceuticals, while Turkey, in turn, imports sesame seeds, raw and semi-processed leather, and rubber from Nigeria.
Ambassador Ayoola Olukanmi, head of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines, and Agriculture, urged investors from both countries to "translate the good political relationship between Nigeria and Turkey into concrete economic opportunities."
"There is a need to expand the frontiers of economic cooperation between our peoples, and we hope this forum will help to deepen our relationships," Olukanmi said.
He praised Turkey for investing in the Nigerian economy and helping to create jobs rather than just importing its goods, saying Nigeria is now more business-friendly and new presidential initiatives will further ease business transactions.
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