After almost 6 years, I am happy to be back in Ghana – an important partner of Türkiye in the region.
Türkiye and Ghana are partners in promoting effective multilateralism, rules-based international system and sustainable development. We share the joint vision of peace, stability and common prosperity.
Türkiye is Africa’s friend and a strategic partner of the African Union (AU). Our cooperation gained momentum with our observer membership status to the AU in 2005. Since then, we have held three Türkiye-Africa Partnership Summits. The Third Summit was held on 16-18 December 2021 in Istanbul with broad participation across the continent.
Türkiye strongly supports Africa’s 2063 vision and contributes to its realization. Allow me to give some examples.
First, Türkiye believes in “African solutions to African problems.” We view our relations with the continent and all its friendly countries from a perspective that is based on a win-win approach and mutual benefits.
Our trade with the continent has surpassed 34,5 billion US Dollars in 2021. Our investments are over 6 billion US Dollars. We are a partner of Africa in technological development as well. Türkiye hosts the United Nations Technology Bank. The Bank offers opportunities in building and enhancing technology and innovation capacities for African countries.
We also invest in people-to-people exchanges to strengthen our bonds with Africa. So far we provided over 15 thousand Türkiye scholarships to African students. Around 5 thousand African students are currently studying at Turkish universities.
As part of our development partnership with the continent, the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA), through its 22 representatives across the continent, and the National Disaster Relief Agency (AFAD), as well as the Turkish Red Crescent have implemented sustainable development projects across the Sub-Saharan Africa. Yunus Emre Turkish Cultural Centers serve in 7 African countries and Turkish Maarif Foundation continues to provide educational services in 25 African countries with around 200 institutions. Maarif Foundation is also active in Ghana with it’s kindergarten and primary levels.
Last but not least, our flag carrier Turkish Airlines connects the continent to the world leaving its footprint in 62 destinations in 41 African countries.
And most importantly, we stand with our African brothers and sisters in calling for a fair world and effective international order through the reform of the United Nations. I commend Ghana’s role in raising the voice of Africa from the seat of the United Nations Security Council and speaking truth to power. Ghana has played a leadership role in the continent’s integration efforts since its independence.
Building on strong bilateral ties that date back to 1958, we are determined to deepen our cooperation with Ghana.
My last visit to Ghana was in 2016 in accompany of His Excellency President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. That visit created a powerful momentum in Türkiye-Ghana relations. My Ghanaian counterpart Honorable Minister Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey’s visit to Türkiye in January 2020 added to this momentum and laid the ground for future mutual visits at different levels, which in turn created new avenues of cooperation opportunities.
I was particularly pleased to host Honorable Minister Botchwey last March for the second edition of Antalya Diplomacy Forum (ADF) where she made valuable contribution to the panel discussion on global and regional challenges and their resolution through diplomacy. I look forward to hosting more Ghanaian guests at the upcoming editions of the ADF.
I noticed that Ghanaian businesses appreciate Turkish products. Indeed, the quality per price of Turkish products and services could be a business asset from a development aspect as well. Ghana is among our top trade partners in Sub-Saharan Africa. We should strive to reach the 1 billion US Dollars bilateral trade volume target as set by President Erdoğan during his visit in 2016. I believe that the already existing mutual interests between our businesses can make this happen.
Turkish companies in Ghana contribute to the country’s economy and create job opportunities for the bright Ghanaian youth. Being among the global leaders in the sector, Turkish construction companies can contribute to the enhancement of infrastructure in Ghana. Moreover, our manufacturing companies could be valuable partners in Ghana’s flagship projects and assist in achieving the “Ghana Beyond Aid” vision of the Government of Ghana.
During my visit to Ghana, my focus will be on how to create new opportunities for cooperation between Türkiye and Ghana in all areas. I wholeheartedly believe in our mutual conviction to tap into the potential of further advancing our cooperation. I look forward to working resolvedly with my counterparts from Ghana on delivering on this common vision.
The writer is the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Türkiye