INSTANBUL THE Fourth Africa-Türkiye Economic and Business Forum (TABEF) has called for augmentation of seamless operation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to guarantee and promote increased intra-African trade.
Under the AfCFTA mechanism, a market of 1.3 billion people and a value of 3.4 trillion dollars is expected to be created.
However, the intra-African trade is envisioned to increase by 50 per cent, providing the world an additional income of 76 billion US dollars.
According to a joint communique of TABEF which convened at the Istanbul Congress Centre (ICC) in Istanbul, Türkiye between 12-13th of October, such initiative is envisioned to expand the African market with the ultimate goal of creating value chains between Africa and Türkiye as well as trading of products and service.
“The forum noted that the African and Turkish private sectors have a shared interest in the successful and effective implementation of the AfCFTA,” said the Communique.
Hosted by the Ministry of Trade of the Republic of Türkiye, in coordination with the African Union and organised by DEİK, the forum also stressed the urgency to respond to the on-going rising of global commodity prices and food insecurity as well as natural disasters which are affecting the poor and vulnerable people.
Considering these challenges and with a view to building meaningful partnership anchored on mutually beneficial cooperation between the two sides, the Forum committed to further strengthen bilateral relations and look forward to continuing Business-to-Business and Business-to-Government cooperation and dialogue in the most respectful, constructive and in a win-win context in various areas.
Among such areas include manufacturing and agro-processing, whereby investments in logistics, including cold chain logistics and modern storage facilities, labs, information and communication technologies have been highlighted as priority areas that will support the creation of regional value chains in manufacturing and agriculture in Africa.
They reaffirmed the need to deliberately invest in the exchange of best practices, skills and knowledge necessary for developing joint production and exports capacity.
The Forum equally called for the intensification of collaboration to improve and augment the existing networks of Digital Innovation Hubs in Africa to deal with digital capacity gaps that exist amongst African and Turkish businesses.
“The public sector of the Turkish and AU need to support the development of an attractive health industrial environment in Africa by encouraging local, regional and international private sector investments in the health sector,” the Communique stated.
They, however, stressed the need to support growing demand for reliable local markets for healthcare products, including locally produced essential medicines and actively encourage voluntary and mutually agreed technology transfer and joint ventures.
With its main theme “Addressing Challenges, Unlocking Opportunities: Building Stronger Türkiye-Africa Economic Partnerships” the forum also committed to supporting women and youth entrepreneurs, skills training and development, strengthening existing SME matchmaking mechanisms and supporting business development centers, business incubators and technology hubs in collaboration with the private sector from both sides.
In terms of trade and investment, they called upon Turkish and African financial institutions to design financial instruments necessary to finance investments and overall economic development in Africa as well as joint ventures and partnerships between Turkish and African businesses.
Likewise, tourism was identified as a priority sector under the Türkiye-Africa Partnership framework for boosting economic and social development through the generation of employment and the development of touristic resources and called on the parties to work on improving connectivity, technology transfer and promotion of cultural exchanges.
The Communique recognised that deepening of Africa’s economic integration will help promote peace and stability in the continent and appreciated the efforts and contribution of the African Union and Türkiye in these domains.