Zimbabwe’s acting foreign and international trade minister on Thursday hailed the country’s close ties with Turkey as both states marked the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations.
“As we mark this important day we are pleased with the energy and enthusiasm shown by the people of Turkey and Zimbabwe to exploit the vast trade, investment and tourism opportunities that exist in both countries,” Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri said in a statement.
She underlined that Turkey, “as it has done in several African countries, is ready to cooperate with Zimbabwe on a mutually beneficial win-win basis.”
Muchinguri-Kashiri said Turkey’s move to open its embassy in the capital Harare in 2011 underlined “the growing relations between our two countries which date back to the time of Zimbabwe’s liberation struggle.”
“This development symbolized Turkey’s increased foreign policy focus on Africa through the Turkey/Africa Partnership arrangement which started with the inaugural Summit meeting that was held in 2008 in Istanbul,” Muchinguri-Kashiri said.
In line with its engagement and reengagement policy, Zimbabwe opened its embassy in Ankara in 2019, which “gave further impetus to the already existing excellent relations,” she said.
“Business people in both countries are strongly urged to take advantage of the existing opportunities and synergies to strengthen economic relations whilst the two governments are in the process of concluding the legal frameworks that will create a conducive business environment,” the minister added.
According to the Zimbabwean official, several memoranda of understanding and agreements on cooperation in many sectors have been discussed and finalized and only await signing at the appropriate time.
Ankara has frequently reaffirmed that Turkey’s approach in its ever-growing relations with African countries is based on equal partnership and a win-win principle, emphasizing the strong will to further develop commercial ties. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan last year embarked on a four-day diplomatic tour to three African countries, Angola, Nigeria and Togo, as part of the country’s African policy to contribute to the economic and social development of the continent with peace and stability, as well as to develop bilateral relations on the basis of equal partnership and mutual benefit.
Turkey’s engagement with the African continent has been gaining pace over the years. Since taking office nearly two decades ago, first serving as prime minister, Erdoğan has been fostering ties with Africa, presenting Turkey as a fairer player than the continent’s former colonial powers. Ankara has been stressing the desire to advance relations with the continent on the basis of a win-win relationship and equal partnership while observing mutual respect. Both sides have been vowing to tap into their greater potential when it comes to further expanding and deepening relations.
To this effect, the number of Turkish embassies in Africa has increased from just 12 in 2002 to 43 in 2021. Turkey’s trade with Africa totaled $5.4 billion (TL 87.65 billion) in 2003, which climbed to $25.3 billion by 2020 despite the coronavirus pandemic. Turkish Airlines offers flights to 60 different destinations across 39 African countries while TIKA has nearly 30 coordination centers on the continent. The Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEIK) has joint business councils with more than half of the nations in Africa.