Turkey is hosting a very important gathering that solely focuses on expanding its cooperation with Africa. The gathering is the second Turkey-Africa Economic and Business Forum.
This forum is jointly organized by the African Union Commission (AUC), the Turkish Ministry of Commerce and DEiK under the theme; “Building a Sustainable Future Together through investments and joint ventures”.
The two-day[October 10-11th] forum is addressing the following four sub-themes: Infrastructure, Construction, Manufacturing, Tourism and Fashion.
Rwanda’s Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente represented President Paul Kagame at the forum in Istanbul and below is his detailed speech presented at the forum.
It is an honour for me to attend this 2nd Turkey-Africa Economic and Business Forum, and address this assembly, on behalf of His Excellency Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda and Chairperson of the African Union.
First of all, allow me to start by conveying to you all, warm greetings and best wishes from President Paul Kagame. We thank President Erdogan and the people of the Republic of Turkey for your warm hospitality.
I commend the Government of Turkey, the Foreign Economic Relations Board of Turkey, the African Union Commission and their partners, for having jointly organized this important Forum.
Bilateral relations between Turkey and our continent have gained substantial momentum. Turkey’s “Opening to Africa policy” has ushered in a continuous phase of mutually reinforced economic partnership.
As an example, in 2017, Turkey’s bilateral trade volume with Africa grew to 20.6 Billion US Dollars from 5.4 Billion US dollars in 2003.
This Forum therefore serves to renew and reinforce cooperation and interaction among investors, private sector representatives, government representatives and financial institutions from Turkey and Africa.
The African Union recognizes the progress made under the Joint Implementation Plan of the Turkey-Africa Partnership in keeping with the Istanbul Declaration of the First Africa-Turkey Cooperation Summit of August 2008, and the First Turkey-Africa Economic and Business Forum that was held in 2016.
We especially recognise Turkey’s efforts to contribute to Africa’s development, in upholding the principle of African solutions to African problems. This principle is in line with the vision of Africa’s Agenda 2063 and the Post 2015 Development Agenda which led to the development of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Implementing the Agenda 2063 requires strong and active cooperation with all stakeholders, including Turkey.
In this regard, we are keen to strengthen and deepen our economies through industrialisation. I therefore invite Turkish investors to join Africa’s quest for industrialisation.
We hope that Turkey will take advantage of the ongoing reforms on our continent. One of the flagship projects includes the African Continental Free Trade Area. This framework has the potential to transform the fortunes of millions of Africans, by boosting trade ties between African nations and creating a large and efficient trading network.
The Africa – Turkey partnership targets a win-win outcome in areas of trade, investment, peace building, education, health, infrastructure, agriculture, manufacturing, mining, tourism, and industrial development.
I invite participants in this Forum to harness the trade and investment opportunities that exist between Turkey and Africa. We partner so that together, we are stronger in our quest for greater prosperity for our people.
I wish to reassure our Turkish partners of our commitment to nurturing this partnership and we look forward to implementing recommendations from this Forum.
Speaking for my country Rwanda specifically, we have established a very competitive business environment, which is underpinned by zero tolerance for corruption. These efforts have sustained economic growth of over 7% for the last 15 years.
We welcome Turkish investments in light manufacturing including construction materials, textiles and garments, wood processing, agro-processing, hospitality and many other subsectors. The Rwanda Development Board which is represented here, stands ready to render any support needed.
To conclude, I would like, once again, to thank the Government of Turkey for hosting this 2nd Turkey-Africa Economic and Business Forum. I wish you fruitful discussions and deliberations.