While a number of Turkish businesses have expressed desire to enter the West Africa market, they see elaborate procedures involved in doing business in the sub-region as a major disincentive to foreign investment.
This is in addition to lack of credit facilities for such foreign business owners who venture into the sub-region to do business, the Chairman of the Turkish Exporters Assembly (TIM) Mr. Mehmet Büyükekşi stated in an interview.
Many businesses, he said, are willing to invest in areas like healthcare, extractives, construction, textiles and energy, given their vast expertise and the business potentials that exist in the sub-region, but they are constrained by these setbacks.
These challenges will have to be addressed immediately if the sub-region is to become a preferred destination for trade and investment.
He therefore emphasised the importance of the platform created by the government of Turkey and ECOWAS Commission – the Turkey-ECOWAS Business and Economic Forum.
It was organised by the Ministry of Economy and Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEIK) of Turkey, and brought together over 500 businesses from West Africa and Turkey – with a strong delegation from ECOWAS member-states led by the ECOWAS Commissioner for Industry and Private Sector Promotion, Kalilou Traore.
President of the Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEIK) Mr. Nail Olpak, speaking in an interview at the event, said businesses from the ECOWAS region are welcome to operate in Turkey, in response to some claims of uneven trade balance for African businesses.
But toward the end of meetings between ECOWAS ministers and the Turkish authorities, a trade and investment cooperation agreement was reached with the Republic of Turkey as part of efforts to deepen economic cooperation between members of the sub-regional body and Turkey.
The agreement was said to signal commitment toward institutionalising relations between Turkey and the ECOWAS Commission.
Also, the Turkish government committed to increase its trade volume in Africa to US$50billion within a ten-year time frame.
It also projected doubling its trade volume in the ECOWAS region alone to US$5billion in the interim, and US$10billion by the mid-term.
Ghana’s exports to Turkey alone yielded a about US$180.4million in 2016, which is a significant improvement over the previous year’s turnover of about US$168million.
Turkey, on the other hand, raked in close to US$298.5million within the period, as it is 9th among the leading countries Ghana imports from.
Ghana, conversely, is ranked 20th on Turkey’s global list of import countries.