Thursday, January 26, 2017

Turkey Will Share Its Development Formula With Africa

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, speaking at the conclusion of his three-day, three-country tour of southeast Africa that included stops at Tanzania, Mozambique and Madagascar, said Turkey would share its experiences on economic development. He noted that he had the opportunity to hold discussions with the presidents of all three countries and that they were appreciative of what Turkey could provide.

"Madagascar is a beautiful country, but its per capita income is just $450. Let's not forget that our per capita income was $2,500 when the Justice and Development Party [AK Party] came to power in 2002. We were able to increase it to well over $10,000. Resource allocation and diversification were concepts unheard of in Turkey. There entered Turkish lexicon with [late former Prime Minister and President] Turgut Özal. The bureaucratic oligarchy was weighing the country down. I believe there are similar problems in Tanzania, Madagascar and Mozambique. For example, only 10 percent of households in Madagascar have electricity."He said all three countries have significant energy resources - that are not utilized - at their disposal which could be used to improve people's lives. "Madagascar has significant water resources. Dams, sunlight panels and wind turbines could be used. Unfortunately in the past, only those who wanted to exploit it went there."

He said he had the opportunity to talk to Madagascar President Hery Rajaonarimampianina. "I told him about our Mass Housing Administration [TOKİ] that built 760,000 houses in 14 years. I told him that if he could persuade his people, a joint project to build houses for the poor along the road between capital Antananarivo and its airport. I asked him if the people could afford to pay $40 to $50 dollars a month. He said they could. I told him he would be amazed at the transformation of the city."

He said attendance at joint businessmen's conferences at all three countries was high and communications would be maintained with visits to Turkey.

Erdoğan also said that Turkey's aim was to establish embassies at each of Africa's 54 counties, noting that the number of embassies had increased from 12 to 39 in the last decade.

He said Madagascar would be allocating a huge track of land to be used as an embassy, which currently serves from a rented house. "Once we get the land, we will open TİKA and Yunus Emre Institute bureaus there to further develop diplomatic, commercial and cultural ties.

Developing ties throughout the continent was important for Turkey's security, Erdoğan argued. "FETÖ has significant presence here. One of their most important centers is South Africa."

He said he had visited 23 African countries, some of them more than once, during his term as prime minister and president. "Turkish national carrier Turkish Airlines flies to 33 African countries. The Yunus Emre Institute has bureaus in three, with two more soon to be opened in Somalia and South Africa. During the latest visit, we signed a total of 20 agreements, 10 with Tanzania, six with Mozambique and four with Madagascar."

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