Bilateral Relations

“Türkiye's win-win policy in Africa: A policy of mutual empowerment based on equality, transparency and sustainability”

Türkiye has long-standing historical and cultural relations with the African continent, dating back centuries. 1998 is a significant milestone for Türkiye-Africa relations. This year, Türkiye launched “Africa Opening Action Plan”. Throughout the last two decades, relations with Africa constitute one of the prime orientations of Turkish foreign policy.

Being at the crossroad of Europe, Asia and Africa, Türkiye’s policy of opening up to Africa is not just the reflection of a transient economic expectation. On the contrary, it is the product of a process with strong historical and cultural aspects. It is, foremost, the expression and natural result of the firm feelings of friendship and partnership between Turkish and African peoples.

Türkiye developed “Strategy for the Development of Commercial and Economic Relations with African Countries” in 2003. Main components of this strategy are promoting trade and direct investments, providing technical assistance, transfer of technology and sharing knowledge and experience.

The year of 2005 was declared as the “Year of Africa” in Türkiye.

Türkiye targeted to develop economic and commercial relations with Africa and this interest has also shared by the African countries. Türkiye-Africa relations have gained a substantial momentum since the declaration of Türkiye as a strategic partner of the Continent by the African Union at its 10th Summit in 2008. In the same year, first Türkiye-Africa Cooperation Summit was held in İstanbul. “The Istanbul Declaration on Türkiye-Africa Partnership: Cooperation and Solidarity for a Common Future” and “Cooperation Framework for Türkiye-Africa Partnership”, which was adopted during the First Türkiye-Africa Cooperation Summit of 2008 established a follow-up mechanism.

Second Türkiye-Africa Partnership Summit was held under the theme of “A New Model of Partnership for the Strengthening of Sustainable Development and Integration” in 2014 in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea. In the same vein, Türkiye’s economic and commercial opening up plan to Africa evolved to a Partnership Strategy that would mainly aim the integration of Turkish and African markets and create a business environment conducive to human development.

Türkiye's 18-year Africa Initiative Policy has increased economic cooperation, while also bringing political relations to the next level. The experience of Turkish businesspeople has been transferred to the region and it has contributed to the development of African countries.

Türkiye has been forging with Africa countries. While Türkiye’s engagement with North Africa dates back to the time of the Ottoman Empire, Türkiye has started to see more opportunities, particularly with trade and business, with countries south of the Sahara. The Turkish Government’s priority to engage with Africa has helped facilitate the growth of business and trade relations. Turkish SMEs have particularly started to invest as African markets have become more accessible.

The Turkish Government has also used development aid to help facilitate commercial interactions. And the Turkish image and presence has been enhanced by the engagement of private companies, NGOs, and Turkish schools.

Turkish companies are undertaking major infrastructure & superstructure (PPP & BOT) projects (roads, railways, airports, power plants, hotels, housing, conference centers etc.) and producing everything from cement, iron-steel, medicines and clothes to electronics and white goods in African countries.

In addition, Türkiye has helped to create a significant number of jobs in Africa, unlike some other partnering countries who bring their own workers to Africa. Human trafficking between Türkiye and Africa has also increased. The number of Africans from Africa to Türkiye has increased fourfold.

In order to build on existing relations, there is a need for more Turkish-African cooperation in the energy, digitalization, services, security and health sectors.

Türkiye-Africa Partnership by Numbers

The trade volume between Türkiye and Africa which stood at 5,4 billion USD in 2003, reached 25,4 billion USD in 2020 despite the impediments brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Economic Partnership:
  • The number of the countries with which Türkiye signed Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreements increased to 45 in 2017 while it was 23 in 2003. This agreement establishes a bilateral regular follow-up mechanism where several subjects stretching from trade, investment and finance to SMEs, health and technology.
  • Health cooperation agreements with 20 African countries.
  • Free Trade Agreements with 4 African countries are in force now when it was literally none in 2003.
  • Reciprocal Protection of Investment Agreements with 26 countries have been signed so far, however, Türkiye had this agreement with only 6 countries in 2003.
  • Prevention of Double Taxation Agreements with 11 African countries is effective today in comparison with that it was only 4 in 2003.
  • Share of African countries in the overall international business volume of Turkish contractors is around 21 percent (share of North Africa is 19%).
  • According to a report published in October 2015 (Financial Times), Turkish investment in Africa creates the largest number of jobs in Africa (16.593 in 2014) compared to the other foreign direct investments in the continent.

Development Assistance:
  • As an emerging donor country, Türkiye is keen to share its development experience with the countries in need of help. Türkiye gives 0.54% of its GDP to official development assistance.
  • Türkiye’s approach is based on the combination of humanitarian and development assistance, with a holistic approach and without prioritizing either of the two.
  • Türkiye has become the third-largest humanitarian donor in 2013 and 2014 in the world. In 2015, Türkiye’s official development assistance to Africa was 395,77 million USD.
  • Türkiye also provided an annual support of 1 million USD to the African Union since 2009.
  • Türkiye has been providing substantial number of undergraduate, graduate and doctorate scholarships to 8.000 African students since 1992. There are currently 5.437 students in higher education and 116 visiting professors/research assistants from African countries.
  • In addition to many technical training programs undertaken by different Ministries and institutions, around 200 junior diplomats have attended to the “International Young Diplomats Training Program” organized by the Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs since 1992.
  • The hospitals built by Türkiye have been extending a helping hand to thousands of patients in different regions of Africa. Also, Turkish doctors have taken part in numerous health screening campaigns. Vocational training has been extended to African countries by the Turkish Ministry of Health.
  • “Africa Handicrafts Center and Culture House” was also opened in the old town of Ankara under the patronage of the First Lady Emine Erdogan in 2016. At the center, handmade products are being sold to provide revenue for African women.
Turkish Projects & Investment in Africa

Since 2003, as Prime Minister and then President, Turkish President H.E. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has visited 27 African countries, more than any other non-African leader. These visits have driven both economic and political connections.

Official Visits: