By Muhammed Ali Gurtas
ANKARA (AA) – Turkey's Independent Industrialists’ and Businessmen’s Association (MUSIAD) opened a representative office in Tanzania, an East African country, the business body announced on Wednesday.
As part of the association's trade diplomacy vision — to have branches in 100 countries by the end of 2018 — the number of MUSIAD's representative offices in 81 countries reached 211 with the branch in Tanzania.
Ibrahim Uyar, the head of MUSIAD's foreign organization and development commission, said Tanzania has a great importance in trade and business relations between Turkey and Africa.
Calling Tanzania as one of the most reliable and stable country in Africa, Uyar said: "With its almost 60 million population and investment opportunities, the country is an attraction center for business people."
"The trade volume between the two countries posts an upward trend," he said. "Although the current trade volume is below the desired level, the efforts are promising."
In the January-September period this year, the trade volume between Turkey and Tanzania recorded an annual growth of 61 percent, reaching nearly $190 million, according to the Turkish Statistical Institute.
Over the past five years, Turkey's exports to Tanzania amounted to $620.3 million, while the country's imports from Tanzania were $184.4 million.
– 'Africa Year'
Uyar said that a total of 1.3 billion people live in 54 African countries, which is around 17 percent of the world's population.
"By 2050, the continent's population is estimated to reach 4.4 billion — 37 percent of the world's population," he said.
MUSIAD declared 2018 as the “Africa Year” to show the association's priority.
"The representative office in Tanzania is our 13th branch across Africa," he said, adding:
"We are aiming to operate in 30 African countries by the end of this year."
Last year, the share of African countries in Turkey's total exports was 7.4 percent, as imports from Africa accounted for 3.1 percent of Turkey's total imports.
In 2013-2017 period, the country's exports to Africa totaled $63.4 billion, while Turkey imported $29.6 billion from the continent.