Turkey eyes $30 bln in trade with Africa
President Abdullah Gul departed over the weekend for an official two-country mini Africa tour. Speaking to reporters before leaving, Gul said that during his visit, he would meet with the presidents and top officials of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Cameroon to discuss political, regional and international affairs. Gul pointed out that his trip this week, at the invitations of Congo President Joseph Kabila and Cameroon President Paul Biya, is the first presidential-level visit between Turkey and the two countries. Many Cabinet ministers, deputies, representatives of professional and civil society organizations, university professors, and media and business group representative are accompanying him. This time last year, Gul visited Kenya and Tanzania. Saying that 60 percent of UN Security Council business is related to Africa, Gul said Turkey is working closely with African countries during its current two-year tenure on the council. Stating that Security Council decisions concern the fate of millions in Africa, Gul said that their views must be into consideration. "That's why this visit is important," he explained. "We're going there to listen to and understand them and learn their thoughts." Telling how Turkey won the votes of almost all African countries in the fall 2008 elections for its temporary Security Council seat, Gul said Africa has already become Turkey's strategic partner. Turkey's trade volume with Africa rose from just $5 billion in 2003 to $15 billion in 2009. "Our goal is to boost trade between Turkey and African countries to $30 billion as soon as possible," Gul said. He added that Turkey could cooperate with the Democratic Republic of Congo and Cameroon in the construction, mining, energy, tourism and agriculture sectors.