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Trade between Turkiye, South Africa booming: Envoy

February 26, 2024 at 7:30 pm

Turkiye’s ambassador to South Africa Aysegul Kandas welcomes visitors during an event marking Turkiye’s 99th Republic Day celebrations held at the ambassador’s residence in the capital Pretoria, South Africa on October 31, 2022 [Hassan Isilow – Anadolu Agency]

Trade and investments between Turkiye and South Africa are booming, with an increase reported annually, Turkey’s Ambassador to Pretoria said Monday, Anadolu Agency reports.

“The total volume of Turkish investments in South Africa is $32 million. In 2022, it was $ 31 million, which is an increase,” Aysegul Kandas told Anadolu in an interview at her office in the capital, Pretoria.

She said South Africa’s investments in Turkiye were $217 million in 2022 but the amount increased to $274 million by the end of 2023.

Kandas said between 60-70 Turkish companies had set up businesses in South Africa, operating in various sectors, including textiles and food.

She said one of the biggest Turkish investors is Arcelik, a major small household appliances producer in Turkiye that owns the well-known South African appliance brand, DEFY, generating jobs for 2,700 people and contributing to South African exports to the Southern African Development Community bloc of 16 countries.

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Turkish defence giant, Aselsan, is another big investor that manages its sub-Saharan Africa operations through its subsidiary in South Africa.

She said Turkish entrepreneurs have also set up stores dealing in clothing, food, carpets and furniture, among others.

Kandas said there are currently over 65 South African companies operating in Turkiye, with the largest being Met Air.

She said the volume of trade between Turkiye and South Africa was $2 billion in 2021 and close to $3 billion in 2022 but decreased slightly in 2023 (over $1.95 billion) but they are working to increase it for the benefit of the two countries.

Diplomatic relations

Kandas said, last year, Turkiye’s former foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, visited South Africa at the invitation of his counterpart, Naledi Pandor.

Cavusoglu visited Cape Town to open the new Consulate-General and also held political consultations with Pandor.

He also opened the Maarif Turkish Studies Centre at the University of Pretoria

Pandor also visited Turkiye for the Antalya Diplomacy Forum in 2022 and she is expected to attend this year as well, in March, to speak at a panel. She is also expected to meet Turkish Foreign Minister, Hakan Fidan.

Kandas also said they expect President Cyril Ramaphosa to visit Turkiye, which follows President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s official visit to South Africa in 2018.

“We would like to hold the first meeting of the Binational Commission established between our countries in Turkiye, hopefully at the level of deputy president or president. “This will propel our bilateral relations which have been flourishing during the last 2 years, since the end of the COVID-19 pandemic,” she said.

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