Turkey and Tanzania have signed nine agreements in defence, economic development, and health during a recent visit by Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Erdoğan was accompanied by several Turkish officials and trade representatives and met his Tanzanian counterpart, John Magufuli, at the country’s Presidential Palace.        

At a joint press conference after the signing ceremony, Magufuli said the agreements would strengthen the development of both countries. Turkish entities already employed more than 2,000 people in Tanzania.      

Erdoğan said the bilateral and inter-delegations meetings were “fruitful” for both Turkey and Tanzania. “We will further deepen our cooperation with the new projects in the economy, trade, tourism, agriculture, railways, industry and construction, and the agreements we have signed clearly demonstrate our determination in this direction,”

Addressing business leaders from both countries at a Turkish-Tanzanian business forum held by Turkey’s Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEİK), Erdoğan said Turkey sought to boost investments by contributing to Tanzania’s development.

“We believe that we have to increase our bilateral trade volume, which is below $150 million, to higher levels,” he said. “We agreed during bilateral negotiations that we have to increase this goal first to $250 million and then to $500 million. The progress we have made in recent years shows that these figures are reachable.”

Tanzania has recently asked for a loan from the state-owned Export Credit Bank of Turkey (Eximbank) to help finance a stretch of a new railway it hopes will open up East Africa’s hinterland and compete with neighbouring Kenya as a trade hub. Tanzania wants to construct a 2,561-kilometer standard gauge railway connecting its main port and capital of Dar es Salaam to land-locked neighbours, including the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zambia, Rwanda and Uganda. Turkish firms are among those that have submitted bids for the standard gauge project.

Tanzania said in July 2016 it had already secured a $7.6 billion loan from China’s Export-Import Bank (Exim) to build part of the new railway network. 

Erdoğan arrived in Tanzania on Jan. 22 for a two-day official visit, which is part of a five-day African tour. He arrived in Mozambique on Jan. 24 and was scheduled to be in Madagascar on Jan. 25 and 26.

 

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