Officials and businessmen from Turkey and Hungary expressed their desire to realize joint projects and investments in Africa, with businessmen seeking to produce solutions to the continent's problems and play an active role in its development with their experience and know-how.
Turkish and Hungarian officials and businessmen came together at the 2nd Turkey-Hungary Africa Business Forum organized by the Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEİK) in Istanbul Wednesday.
Addressing the event, Deputy Trade Minister Gonca Yılmaz Batur said Turkey is pleased to share its experience on the African continent with Hungary.
"In the first stage, we foresee that by putting forth the areas in which both countries are strong in, we can cooperate in the fields of health, information communication technologies, water and wastewater management services, construction and engineering," Batur noted.
Turkey is taking place as an important partner in Africa's development adventure, Batur said.
"In 2003, when we implemented our Africa Strategy [Strategy for Enhancing the Economic and Commercial Relations with Africa], we aimed to contribute to the prevention of poverty in the region and to support the sustainable development of the continent and its integration with the world in the globalization process. We have adopted the principle of fair trade in our trade with Africa. While developing our commercial and economic relations, we have established warm social and cultural ties," she added.
Turkey has boosted its corporate presence in the continent and continues efforts to complete the legal infrastructure. The country currently has embassies in 42 countries and trade missions in 26 countries on the continent.
Turkey has so far signed Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreements with 47 countries, Mutual Promotion and Protection of Investments Agreements with 29 countries and Prevention of Double Taxation Agreements with 12 countries in Africa.
"Taking into consideration the commercial interests of our partner countries, we have signed free trade agreements [FTAs] with five African countries. Our negotiations continue in full swing to add new ones to these agreements," Batur said.
The trade volume between Turkey and Africa also made significant progress over the recent years. Turkey's trade volume with the continent, which stood at $5.4 billion in 2003, reached $23.8 billion in 2018.
Batur noted Turkish firms have investments in the continent valued at over $5.7 billion, and currently employs 24,000 people across the continent. To date, Turkish contractors have carried out a total of 379 projects worth $67.4 billion in Africa and realized 318 projects in sub-Saharan Africa, amounting to $16.7 billion, she added.
In his address at the meeting, Hungary's Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Pet
ér Szijjártó called on Turkish and Hungarian business representatives to evaluate the strategic cooperation and alliance between the two countries.
"There is a trust established between the two countries. Economy is to benefit from this the most. We need to focus our attention on Africa. It is a continent full of opportunities and resources. Investments made by Hungarian and Turkish companies can ensure that Africans do not wish to leave their countries," he said.
stated that Hungarian Eximbank has established a credit of $220 million for joint investments in Africa.
"Last year, Hungarian and Turkish companies made an investment in the industry field in Kenya with the support of two states. Putting on top of this success, I wish companies from both countries to invest more in Africa," Szijj
In his speech at the event, DEİK Chairman Nail Olpak said Africa is a continent with significant resources and a rising young population. "We, as Turkish and Hungarian businesspeople, want to produce solutions to Africa's problems by playing an active role in Africa's development with our experience and know-how," he indicated.
Olpak noted that Turkish and Hungarian businessmen came together at the event to realize joint projects and investments in Africa.
"In order to develop joint projects in Africa and to make joint investments, we will evaluate creating an initiative involving banks, media organizations, government agencies and business organizations, identify the target sectors and products and services complemented by the two countries in these sectors, carry out bilateral meetings and evaluate the existing projects," DEİK Chairman Olpak said.