Richard Adeniyi Adebayo, Nigeria’s industry, trade and investment minister
Over the next few years, trade between Turkey and Nigeria will rise “dramatically” from its current level of $2 billion, according to Nigeria’s top trade official.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency on the sidelines of the Third Turkey-Africa Economic and Business Forum in Istanbul, which ended Friday, Richard Adeniyi Adebayo, Nigeria’s industry, trade and investment minister, called the forum a “step in the right direction.”
The two-day forum, organized by Turkey’s Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEIK) in association with the Turkish Trade Ministry and African Union Commission, hosted around 3,000 African and Turkish businesspeople as well as government ministers and other top officials from 45 African countries.
“I believe it will bring our countries closer,” said Adebayo. “And I also believe that it gives us an opportunity to discuss the various areas of interest, especially trade opportunities, that exist between both countries.”
Nigeria was the final stop of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s four-day African tour this week, following Angola and Togo. It was Erdogan’s second visit to Nigeria since 2016, the country Turkey sees as one of the biggest trade partners in the continent with a trade volume of more than $2 billion. Turkey and Nigeria aim to increase the trade volume to $5 billion, Erdogan announced during his visit.
Turkey has had ties with Nigeria since it gained independence in 1960, said Adebayo, adding that they have grown closer with the good relationship between Erdogan and Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari.
Direct flights between Turkey and Nigeria have enabled many Nigerians to visit Turkey to shop for the holidays and for medical tourism, he said.
The countries will grow closer still, he added.
- ‘Turkish investments different from China’s’
Stating that Turkish investments in Africa are “very different” from Chinese ones, he said: “I've been in discussions with various Turkish industrialists and investors, and they were interested in coming to do business in Africa. They are prepared to give long-term facilities to the African continent.”
In its relations with African countries, Turkey has emphasized a philosophy of “win-win” relationships.
Adding that Turkey is unique in that it straddles both Asia and Europe, he said the Asian side “complements the Islamic side of Africa.” On the European side, he said Africa also has “European roots due to colonization.”
Asked if Nigeria is interested in Turkey’s high-performance armed drones, Adebayo said they are in discussions with the Turkish Defense Ministry. The issue was also discussed during Erdogan’s visit, he said, adding that they are “exploring the Turkish defense industry.”