The second annual Turkey – Africa II. Economic and Business Forum was held on the 10th of October in Istanbul. Hosted by the Ministry of Trade and organized by Foreign Economic Relations Board of Turkey (DEiK), in collaboration with the African Union (AU), this event brought together Turkish company executives who have successfully completed PPP projects in Africa and have invested in African countries in various sectors to share their experiences with priorities, challenges and opportunities of their investments. This forum is in line with Turkey’s African opening policy to improve Turkey’s commercial and investment relations with African countries and the continent as a whole.
DEFY participated in this event with 15 distributor company owners and executive managers from 8 different African countries, including Zambia, Ghana, Nigeria, Mauritius, Angola, Sudan, Ethiopia and Gabon. This forum is intended to integrate DEFY’s strategic agenda to grow in Africa export markets, and business partner’s participation provided the opportunity to develop a structured agenda in light of the discussion environment of the Turkey-Africa business forum.
According to Evren Albas, the Sub-Sahara Regional Director of Arçeli̇k & CEO of DEFY South Africa, Turkish businesspeople can contribute to the construction of Africa’s future and invest in a sustainable future together. “With its vibrant population and economic growth potential, Africa is one of the key markets that we focus. Based on this vision, we are increasing our operations in Africa by deploying our global expertise and scale in the continent. Bilateral trade between Turkey and Africa continues to grow each year, and the volume has reached over 20 billion dollars. Arçeli̇k and DEFY are proud to be seen as a model for strong trade ties between Turkey and Africa. Based on our experience and learnings that we have in Africa so far, we believe that there is a significant growth potential which can be boosted with the help of governments, by both private sector and non-government organisations.”
The primary focus of the panel discussions across the two-day conference was on co-operation in construction, infrastructure, and energy, and trade and investment in Africa. Since the first forum held in 2016, Turkey and Africa’s economic and trade sectors showed great improvement in the framework of the African initiative of the win-win policy implemented by Turkey in 2003, the trade volume with Africa has increased 4 times between the years of 2003-2018 and has reached 20.6 billion dollars. This figure has been growing substantially with the continuous investments in public and private partnerships.
Mr Albas spoke in prolific company, of which fellow panelists included the Commissioner for Economic Affairs of the African Union Commission H.E. Prof. Victor Harison, the Chairperson of the Board of Tosyali Holding, Mr. Fuat Tosyali and Directorate General for International Cooperation and Development – Europaid at European Commission, Mr. Michel Arrion, the Member of Board of Elhassan Holding Group Mr. Elsadiq HagAli H.Elhassan, and the President of Summa, Mr. Selim Bora.
Albas concludes that the focus of organisations such as Arçeli̇k, the holding company for DEFY appliances, is to approach dealings with Africa in a unique and innovative way in order to develop a strong and sustainable relationship. “Africa is the most diverse continent in the world. This diversity, together with young and growing population, makes Africa one the fastest-growing consumer markets. Businesses seeking to do business in Africa must be prepared to think differently. Understanding the emerging pride in the continent and understanding agents for change should be critical agenda items for all business development projects. Seizing this moment of “now” to invest in Africa will require big thinking and brave decisions, but we believe that those who are up for the challenge stand to win big.”