Africa has signed a trade and investment agreement with the largest Turkish business organization, the Confederation of Businessmen and Industrialists of Turkey (TUSKON).
The agreement, which forms part of a strategic partnership to create a framework for corporations, would focus on trading among women entrepreneurs on the continent with their counterparts in Turkey.
After signing the agreement on behalf of Africa at the first Turkey-Africa Women Entrepreneurs Trade Bridge Conference in Istanbul, the Deputy Chairman of the African Union Commission, Mr Erastus Mwencha, told journalist that the agreement would enhance the investment of Turkish companies in Africa.
Touching on why the focus was on women, he said “In Africa, women have a problem of accessing capital for investment and this is what the agreement would be addressing.”
He explained that African women would also partner Turkish business women and act as marketing and distributing agents for Turkish products. “This partnership is important,” he stressed.
Earlier, he addressed the conference before signing the agreement, saying that Africa had delivered a strong economic growth over the last decade and had investment opportunities that awaited Turkish investors.
The sound macro-economic policies, political and social reforms that members of the continent had been pursuing are also part of the reasons why “it is becoming an increasingly attractive hub for foreign investment.”
Mr Mwencha said the one billion population of Africa also made it a vast potential for both global traders and investors as it was reported that half of Africa’s population would live in cities by 2030 and the top 18 cities would have a combined spending power of $1.3 trillion.
On potential areas where Turkish investors could consider, he listed agriculture, tourism, mining, infrastructural development and Information and Communication Technology (ICT).
Although Turkey’s trade volume with African countries had increased from $4 billion in 2000 to $20 billion in 2012, the Deputy Chairman of the AU said “We believe the prevailing commercial ties between Turkey and African should be strengthened to assume a momentous growth.”
The President of the TUSKON, Rizanur Meral, said Africa was the most promising continent in the world, according to the economic growth record of 5.6 per cent in 2013.
He said there had been a remarkable amount of foreign direct investment channelled to the continent to take part in a market volume of $1.2 trillion, which was also ranked the fastest growing middle class in the world.
The Vice President TUSKON, Mrs Rana Tetcan, who hosted the 340 African women and 450 Turkish women, for her part, said: “One can think that when it comes to business it does not matter if it’s a woman or a man in charge, but we do know that women have the power that can contribute to a better business.”
She said Turkish women were ready to share know-how and experience with their African counterparts who would like to be global players.
“We strongly believe that women entrepreneurs in the emerging and developing world are important because women can truly make a difference, ” she added.