Turkey is ready to share its development experience in various fields with African countries, states the declaration of the Turkey-Africa Economic and Business Forum in Istanbul issued Thursday.
"We told our African friends we will continue to support them," Turkish Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci said Thursday at a news conference after two days of discussions in Istanbul.
The forum will be held again in 2018 in Africa, Zeybekci added.
African Union Commissioner for economic affairs Anthony Mothae Maruping appeared satisfied with how the forum was organized.
"I like action and all the talking in the forum needs to be backed up with action," Maruping said however.
The forum declaration stated: "Investors […] reiterated their strong intention to initiate joint action to examine possibilities of removing tariffs and other obstacles to trade through potentially concluding Trade and Economic Partnership Agreements that would be based on asymmetrical model enabling African countries to protect their sensitive sectors." it said.
The declaration said the forum agreed to prioritize infrastructure cooperation within a Turkey–Africa partnership.
“We have welcomed here more than 2,000 people in the forum. We need to work harder to deepen the relations with any country in Africa to develop our business relations for the future,” said Omer Cihad Vardan, the head of Turkey's Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEIK).
“The trade volume between Turkey and Africa is only $17.5 billion. Looking at the potential of Turkey and Africa, this figure is very significant but not enough and does not reflect the true potential,” Vardan added.