President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will leave on Sunday for a four-day tour to three African countries upon the invitation of his counterparts, the Turkish Communications Directorate announced on Saturday.
Erdoğan is set to visit the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Senegal and Guinea-Bissau on Feb. 20-23, a directorate statement said.
The visit will focus on all aspects of bilateral relations and opportunities for improving cooperation between Turkey and these countries in all fields, the statement added.
During his visit to Senegal’s capital Dakar, Erdoğan will attend the opening ceremony of the Dakar Olympic Stadium built by a Turkish company. He will also open the new embassy building in the capital.
Erdoğan's visit to Guinea-Bissau will mark the first presidential-level official visit from Turkey to the West African country.
Turkey’s engagement with the African continent has been gaining pace over the years. Turkey's African policy, which encompasses political, humanitarian, economic and cultural spheres, is part of its multidimensional foreign policy. Erdoğan's visits to the DRC, Senegal and Guinea-Bissau are expected to offer opportunities for the increase of bilateral trade volumes in line with the determined targets and expansion of the investments of Turkish businesspeople in the region.
Turkey-Africa relations gained new acceleration with the country's policy of "Strategic Africa," launched by Erdoğan in 2003. To this effect, the number of Turkish embassies in Africa has increased from just 12 in 2002 to 43 in 2021. Turkey became an "observer member" of the African Union in 2005, and the union declared Turkey a "strategic partner" in 2008.
The first Turkey-Africa Partnership Summit was held in Istanbul in 2008 while the second one took place in Malabo, the capital of Equatorial Guinea. The 3rd Turkey-Africa Partnership Summit was held in Istanbul on Dec. 16-18, and many heads of state and government and foreign ministers attended the summit. President Erdoğan and Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu met with many of their counterparts who came to Istanbul as part of the summit.
Speaking at the closing ceremony, Erdoğan said, "We want to develop together and increase the welfare of our people together; thus, we attach great importance to the memorandum of understanding."
The 3rd Turkey-Africa Partnership Summit held in Istanbul also adopted a joint declaration. The declaration stated the parties are committed to further strengthening and deepening the cooperation in the interest of the states and peoples. They also committed to cementing their collaboration on current issues in the global arena, including health, peace, security, governance and justice. The declaration said the parties will focus on three main topics: peace, security and justice, human-focused development and strong and sustainable growth.
These diplomatic developments between Turkey and the African continent were also reflected in economic and commercial relations. Turkey builds its economic relations with African countries on the basis of equal partnership and win-win negotiations.
As of last year, Turkish companies had undertaken more than 1,150 projects across the continent with a total value exceeding nearly $70 billion. The value of Turkey's investments across Africa surpassed $6 billion, according to data compiled by Anadolu Agency (AA).
In 2021, Turkey's foreign trade volume with Sub-Saharan Africa jumped 24.8% year-on-year to hit a record high of $10.7 billion. Turkish exports to countries in the region soared 31% to $7.9 billion in the same period, while its imports were up 10% to $2.8 billion.
Erdoğan's latest visit to the three nations will focus on all aspects of bilateral relations and opportunities for improving cooperation with Turkey.
Last year, Erdoğan embarked on a four-day diplomatic tour to three African countries, Angola, Nigeria and Togo, as part of the country's African policy to contribute to the economic and social development of the continent with peace and stability, as well as to develop bilateral relations on the basis of equal partnership and mutual benefit.
During the tour, Erdoğan underlined that Western countries for years exploited the continent of Africa for their own interests and reiterated his message for a fairer world by calling the oppressed to act together for this aim.