By Zeynep Duyar and Muhammed Ali Gurtas
Construction, food, healthcare and energy are some sectors where cooperation can be enhanced between Turkey and African countries, head of Turkey's Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEIK) said Wednesday.
Speaking at the Turkey-Africa Business and Economic Forum in Istanbul, Omer Cihad Vardan highlighted the wide range of opportunities available on both sides.
"We see that there are hundreds of projects that we can undertake jointly as we get to know each other's sources. Construction services, food, healthcare and energy sectors are some of the areas that we can make investments in," Vardan said.
There are 134 business councils from around the world linked to the DEIK, 34 of which operate with African nations to develop businesses there, he said.
"Now, we know our African friends better, and they know us better as well. We understand better our countries' needs and how to meet these needs. We are doing our best to further relations between Turkey and Africa," he added.
Solomon Afework, president of the Pan-African Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said: "Africa, the second-most populated continent of the world, is a real gateway to different areas with its very ideal geographic location.
"The African governments believe that the private sector is an engine of the economy and they are constantly improving the legal framework to support the sector.
"Turkish trade and investments are growing rapidly in Africa due to the continent's fast economic growth... My message to the Turkish business community is that Africa is ready to business."
Anthony Mothae Maruping, economic affairs commissioner at the African Union Commission, emphasized the role of Istanbul in acting as a bridge with African countries.
He said Africa wanted a more diversified and, therefore, more resilient economies. "This requires a transformative growth. Turkey has certainly been doing just that for years," Maruping said.
"Africa and Turkey have developed a win-win strategic partnership that creates a framework for cooperation at various levels and on several fronts. [Both sides should] share experiences and exchange ideas. Make Turkey-Africa partnership vibrant. Nurture it," he added.