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Djibouti, Turkey eye higher trade volume

The current trade volume between Djibouti and Turkey can be boosted through cooperation, top visiting Djibouti officials said in Turkey.

“We want to build more prospective, sustainable, productive and promising relations,” Djibouti President Ismail Omar Guelleh said in a message read out by Ilyas Moussa Dawaleh, Djibouti’s economy and finance minister, during a roundtable meeting of Turkey’s Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEIK).

Guelleh and his official delegation arrived in the capital Ankara on Tuesday for a two-day official visit.

Turkey’s exports to the coastal Horn of Africa country stood at $83.6 million in the first 10 months of this year, while imports from Djibouti totaled $317,150, according to the Turkish Statistical Institute (TUIK).

Guelleh said the DEIK meeting, which brought his delegation together with Turkish business leaders, is a good sign of Turkey’s willingness to develop new business opportunities.

“We aim for win-win cooperation for our businesspeople, institutions, and the private sector,” he underlined in his message.

Guelleh argued the investment climate should be approved to counter challenges and international competition.

Djibouti provides investment opportunities in many sectors for the Turkish private sector, he added.

‘Opportunities for Turkish investors’

Speaking at the meeting, Turkish Deputy Finance Minister Cengiz Yavilioglu called Djibouti a strategic country which offers a number of opportunities to Turkish investors.

The countries have the potential to cooperate in the areas of infrastructural investments, construction services, energy, agriculture, livestock and health sectors, Yavilioglu said.

Hailing the promising rise in the bilateral trade volume seen this year, Yavilioglu said this still falls short of potential as both countries are hubs for international trade routes.

“Boosting a balanced trade volume will continue to be one of the priorities for our bilateral economic agenda,” he said.

Nail Olpak, the head of the economic relations board, also said that Turkey and Djibouti’s shared Ottoman-era cultural legacy and brotherhood would enable them to strengthen economic ties.

“Our bilateral trade could reach $84 million in the first 10 months of this year. We made efforts to raise it to $150 million as a first step then to the range of $300-500 million in the medium and long term,” he stated.

Guelleh’s visit at the invitation of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan comes two years after Erdogan’s visit to Djibouti.

In 2005, Turkey’s official outreach to Africa gained new momentum when, Erdogan, then prime minister, declared 2005 the Year of Africa, and Turkey was accorded observer status by the African Union.

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