(4 Kasım 2014, 13:30, Ankara)
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would like to thank you all for joining us today in this family event.
As we prepare for the Second Turkey-Africa Partnership Summit in Malabo in less than three weeks, on November 19-21, 2014, I wanted to touch base with you today. Your valuable views and guidance is vital for the success of this event.
Let me first start by making some remarks on how we see our partnership with the continent in general before focusing on the Summit.
Turkey’s Relations with Africa
Expanding our relations and cooperation with Africa is one of the prime orientations of our foreign policy. Turkey's Africa policy is not just the reflection of a temporary political and economic considerations. On the contrary, it is the product of a process with strong historical and cultural aspects.
As part of Turkey's Partnership Policy, we pursue a multi-layered approach in Africa.
We have established close political relations by intensifying bilateral high level visits. We advocate the rights and the positions of African nations both at bilateral and multilateral fora. As we declared during our campaign for non-permanent seat at the UN Security Council, we have been and will continue to be the voice of Africa on international platforms.
We build ties with African nations in the economic field. This will help overcome their challenges through more trade, investment and humanitarian-technical assistance.
We also stand ready to play our role through diplomacy to contribute to the peaceful settlement of conflicts and disputes. In short, we do not consider ourselves as outsiders to the continent, rather a strategic partner.
Re-emergence of Africa
Africa is now re-emerging with many promising developments. We have seen remarkable progress on the way towards democracy and good governance. Last decade has witnessed a series of successful elections and peaceful transitions of power.
Lately, fair and democratic elections held in the Republic of South Africa, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique and Botswana have boosted this trend.
The Continent has recorded an annual growth rate of 5% over the last decade and is expected to continue this trend. According to the World Bank, economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa will significantly outpace the global average over the next three years. The natural resources of the Continent are rich and diverse. In 2050 Africa is expected to become a 29 trillion Dollar economy.
These positive developments and achievements in economic and political fields are re-shaping the image of Africa.
African countries have also recorded significant progress in the field of regional cooperation and integration in pursuit of conflict prevention and economic development.
Today, African countries are increasing their efforts to overcome their challenges and resolve their problems with their own resources and through their own mechanisms.
African solutions for African problems:
Turkey adheres to the principle of "African solutions for African problems".
I would also like to stress that the African Union is a success story having celebrated its 50th anniversary last year. African Union has promoted and enhanced good governance, democracy and economic integration across the Continent.
Along with the African Union, sub-regional organizations have proven themselves as important instruments in regional cooperation, mediation and conflict prevention.
That is why, as a strategic partner, Turkey formulates her African policies in line with the decisions and declarations of the African Union.
We are sensitive to immediate needs of the Continent. We have immediately extended financial assistance to Sierra Leone and Guinea to combat the Ebola epidemic. Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TİKA) is working to provide medical equipment and assistance.
We are currently working to finalize an additional support package up to 5 million US Dollars that will contain both material and financial assistance.
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Bridging Turkey and Africa
We continue to strengthen our links with Africa. We have now 39 Turkish Embassies across the Continent. We are pleased to see that the number of the Embassies of African countries in Ankara has reached to 32. I am pleased all 32 African Embassies are represented here today.
People to people contacts have also been gaining strength. Thousands of people from Africa, study, work and live in Turkey and vice versa.
Turkish Airlines has become one of the major international carriers of the Continent having flights to around 40 destinations in the Continent. There are ever growing Turkish investments in a number of African countries that employ local labor force, use home-produced resources and export final products to third countries.
Since 2005, which we declared the year of Africa in Turkey, there has been increased engagement with the African countries.
Economy and Trade
Our bilateral trade volume with the Continent has reached 23 billion Dollars in 2013. In the first 8 months of 2014 we have almost reached to 13 billion Dollars. Our common goal is to reach the target of 50 billion Dollars trade volume by 2018.
Turkish contractors are among major undertakers in the continent. Within the period between 1972 and first 6 months of 2014, share of African countries in the overall international business volume of Turkish contractors is 18.4%.
Turkey as donor
Turkey has become a leading country in humanitarian activities all over the continent. Turkish International Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TİKA) currently operates 11 Program Coordination Offices in Africa.
Turkey became the fourth-largest donor in 2012 (after the US, the UK and the EU) in the world. Turkey's total humanitarian assistance reaches 2 billion US dollars per year.
Africa had a share of %31 from Turkey's Official Development Assistance (ODA) in 2012 which represents an amount of 772 million Dollars.
In 2013, Turkey disbursed 3.3 billion Dollars as ODA, which represents an almost 30% increase compared to 2012.
Under the government scholarships programme, we are providing more than 1071 scholarships for students from Sub-Saharan Africa.
In addition to many technical training programmes undertaken by different Ministries and institutions, my Ministry has hosted more than 200 junior diplomats from African countries within the framework of the annual training program since 1992.
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
The Second Summit
As you all know, Second Turkey-Africa Partnership Summit will be held in Malabo between 19-21 November 2014. The theme of the Summit is "A new model of partnership to enhance a sustainable development and integration of Africa".
A Declaration and a Joint Implementation Plan of Turkey-Africa Partnership for 2015-2018 will be adopted during the Summit. Joint Implementation Plan includes priority areas such as agriculture, education, health, trade and investment, energy, peace and security.
The Summit will start with high level officials meeting on November 19, continue with Ministerial Meetings on the second day and end with the Summit of Heads of States/Governments on November 21.
The Summit will be held in accordance with the Banjul Formula of the African Union.
Taking this opportunity I would like to stress that as we all attach great importance to the Summit, we expect participation at the highest level, namely Heads of State or Government.
Reiterating that II. Turkey-Africa Partnership Summit will usher a new era in our bilateral collaboration; I would like to thank you all for your attention. Now I leave the floor to you.