Turkish and Japanese business circles Wednesday gathered in Istanbul to discuss business opportunities and further cooperation in Africa.
"We are highly motivated to promote bilateral economic and investment relations between the two countries and continue building strong partnerships, especially in the African region," said Şerif Tosyalı, chairman of the Turkey-Japan Business Council at the Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEİK).
Tosyalı underlined the considerable amount of investment made by the two countries in Africa. "As of 2018, the total investment Turkey and Japan made in Africa was worth at least $6.5 billion and $10 billion, respectively."
He said Turkish businesspeople were interested in the promotion of various sectors and attracting bilateral investment, especially in IT, energy, infrastructure construction, and the automotive industry, thanks to "genuine" partnerships.
"We strongly believe that Africa has a potential to offer us for going beyond the numbers," he said.
He recalled the joint meeting of Turkey-Japan Business Council held in Istanbul last year, with 500 high-level business people in attendance, and added that the council's 25th joint meeting will be held in Tokyo on Nov. 1.
Masayuki Tanimoto, regional head of Europe, the Middle East and Africa for Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), said Turkish construction firms should head to Africa in order to promote infrastructure projects in the continent.
He also recalled that this year has been declared the "Year of Turkey" in Japan.
Tanimoto said this cooperation goes back two years and they have since formed such cooperation with some European countries as well. He added that they are also cooperating with the U.K. in Africa. "This year has been declared ‘The Year of Turkey' in Japan. Turkish construction companies need to be directed to promote infrastructure projects in Africa."
The Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) will be held in Japan in August where potential business opportunities in Africa will be discussed with private sector representatives, Tanimoto said.
He also noted that the JBIC will open its representative office in Istanbul later this year.