With our visit to four sub-Saharan African countries under the leadership of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in late February, we reached another significant turning point in the African initiative that Turkey launched in 2005. After a five-year hiatus, these presidential visits have ushered in a new era in bilateral relations, with the four sub-Saharan countries of Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea and Nigeria. During our visits, we conducted studies to recognize and understand the region and its businesspeople, which revealed to us that Turkey is ready to be a major partner in trade and economy in sub-Saharan Africa.
Kenya and Uganda are our next destinations where we will hold two different business forums. Under the leadership of President Erdoğan, we will hold talks in these two countries to bring businesspeople together from both countries from May 31 to June 3.
With a population of nearly 45 million, 40 percent of whom are under the age of 15, Kenya has great potential to conduct trade with Turkey in the oil, machinery, energy, motor vehicle, iron and steel industries. Furthermore, Kenya is in dire need of investments in its energy infrastructure. Turkey's exports to Kenya stood at $131 million in 2015, with tractors, road vehicle parts and flour being the most exported item to the country. Turkish officials who visited the region intend to make Kenya one of its top trading partners in terms of exports to the country.
Today, a total of 40 Turkish companies operate in Kenya. If Turkey increases its presence in the building material, hotel equipment, carpet, electronics, leather, cosmetics, restaurant management, food industry and furniture exports to Kenya, other sectors of the Turkish economy will always begin to expand their presence in Kenya. The same applies to Uganda, which offers great investment and trade opportunities in the sectors of agriculture, mining, tourism and infrastructure.
We are sure that Turkish businesspeople will undertake new enterprises and seize potential opportunities to cooperate in the African initiative in upcoming visits to the region.