Ethiopia-Turkey Business Forum kicks off in Addis

Addis Ababa, 11 December 2014 (WIC, ENA)

The Ethiopia-Turkey Business Forum has kicked off here in Addis Ababa today.

The Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and the Turkish Minister of Economy Nihat Zeybekci are attending the forum and the two leaders have met on the sidelines of the meeting. Diplomatic relations between Turkey and Ethiopia started in 1896 with the exchange of delegations during the rule of Sultan Abdülhamid II and Emperor Menelik II. Following the opening of the first Ottoman-Turkish Consulate General in Harar, in 1912, the first Embassy of the Republic of Turkey’s in Sub-Saharan Africa was opened in Addis Ababa, in 1926. The Ethiopian side opened its Embassy in Turkey in 1933. The Embassy of Ethiopia in Ankara was closed in 1984 during the Communist Derg regime and it was re-opened on 21 April 2006.

Visits by the Prime Minister of the Republic of Turkey to Ethiopia twice after the Turkish Government declared 2005 as the “Year of Africa”; the inauguration of Turkish Airlines’ Istanbul-Addis Ababa-Istanbul flights as of April 2006 and the increase of these flights to a daily basis in March 2009; the establishment of the first TIKA (Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency) Office in Africa, in Addis Ababa in 2005; furthermore, mutual visits between the two countries at various levels and a continuous increase of technical aid programs towards Ethiopia have been significant steps which contributed to the development of relations.

As of June 2013, the number of Turkish firms active in Ethiopia is around 100 and the number of employment by these firms has reached about 46.000 although it was only 1 and 5 respectively, in 2003. The total amount of investment by the Turkish firms in Ethiopia is 3 billion USD. Currently, Turkish firms employ highest number of workers in private sector in Ethiopia.

Today, Foreign Affairs Minister Dr. Tewodros Adhanom held talks with a Turkish business delegation led by Turkish Minister of Economy Nihat Zeybekci on ways of boosting the economic ties of the two countries. Ethiopia and Turkey have been working to further strengthen the existing economic ties between the two countries, according to Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Spokesperson of Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Dina Mufti, told reporters that Turkish companies which are engaged in Ethiopia have been producing quality products that have high demand. Turkish Minister of Economy said Ethiopia and Turkey have become very close sisterly countries. The minister said that Ethiopia has a favorable climate to do business and to live. Zeybekci pointed out that Turkish investors are keen to engage in textiles and heavy industries.

Another significant indication of the developing relations between the two countries is the fast trade volume increase registered in recent years. The trade volume was 27 million USD in 2000, 140 million USD in 2005, and 441 million USD in 2012 and 421 million USD at the end of 2013.

Main export items from Turkey to Ethiopia are metal and metal products, machines, mechanical and electrical devices and their spare parts, voice recording devices, plastics, chemical products, textile and ready-made clothes, food, tobacco products, visual equipment, musical instruments, clocks, measurement devices, medical and surgical equipments, vegetable oil, paper, stone, gypsum, cement, asbestos, mica, shoes, artificial flower, wood and wooden products, mineral products, leather and leather products, bags, suitcases, furs, gem stones, metals, imitation jewelries.

Main import items from Ethiopia to Turkey are vegetable (sesame, oil seeds) and animal products, leather and leather products, textile and ready-made clothes, paper and plastic products. In order to strengthen relations in the field of education, the Turkish government provided 47 scholarships for undergraduate study in Turkey in the academic year of 2013-2014.

The trade surplus of goods with Turkey was 347,6 million $ in 2012, a 49% increase (233 million $) over 2011.
Ethiopia is an important market for Turkish contractors. Turkish firms held and are holding 21 projects in Ethiopia with a total value of 2.4 billion dollars up until now.

Turkish firms are also involved in Ethiopia’s mega projects, particularly the Awash-Woldiya Railway project which will create 10,000 jobs is a case in point. Turkish investors have also expressed strong interest in the housing sector in Ethiopia. (FBC)