Dar es Salaam. Tanzania’s exports to Turkey increased by 110.2 per cent during the first nine months of this year compared with a similar period last year as the two countries foster their trade and investment relations in cementing the groundwork laid when the latter’s President visited the former in January this year.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited Tanzania in January this year – complete with a delegation of over 150 traders and other government officials – whereby he signed nine bilateral agreements with President John Magufuli, aiming at building up the economies of both countries.
Among the major breakthroughs of the visit was the signing of a financing agreement for the construction of the standard gauge railway line that will connect Tanzania to Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia, Rwanda and Uganda. The first phase of the project – a 205km stretch between Dar es Salaam and Morogoro – is currently being constructed of which part of the money has been sourced as a loan from Turkish state-owned Export Credit Bank of Turkey (Eximbank).
Similarly, the government announced early this month that a Turkish company, Yapi Merkezi - which is the one building the first 205-km phase between Dar es Salaam and Morogoro – has also won a tender to construct the second phase between Morogoro and Makutupora. The contract is worth $1.92 billion. Data released last week by the Turkish Embassy in Dar es Salaam show that during the nine months of last year, Tanzania exported goods worth Sh3.5 billion ($16 million) to Turkey but the figure rose toSh7.3 bullion ($33 million) in the same period of the current year.
Tanzania exports mainly tobacco and other agricultural produce to Turkey but as of late, the country is also focusing on manufactured goods. During the same period, Turkish exports to Tanzania also rose by 16 per cent.
Speaking in the city recently, the Turkish charge d’affaires, Ms Fatma Unsay, said her country was committed to supporting Tanzania in various areas in order to tie the relationships. She was speaking during the 94th anniversary of the proclamation of the Turkish Republic.
“In one year, 10 Turkish business delegations have visited Tanzania and held meetings with their colleagues. Some of them have started businesses,” she noted.
According to the Turkish Embassy commercial counsellor, Mr Onur Tekyildiz, the opening of the commercial department at the embassy last year also has had a hand in raising the number of Turkish investors.