By Gokhan Ergocun, Sadik Kedir Abdu and Tuba Sahin
ISTANBUL (AA) - The third Turkey-Africa Partnership Summit held in Istanbul adopted a joint declaration on Saturday.
The declaration said parties committed to further strengthen and deepen the cooperation in the interest of the states and peoples.
They also committed to cement their collaboration on current issues in the global arena, including health, peace, security, governance and justice.
The declaration said parties will focus on three main issues “peace, security and justice”, “human-focused development” and “strong and sustainable growth.”
These sub-themes will be implemented under five strategic cooperation areas through a joint action plan from 2022 to 2026: “Peace, Security and Governance”, “Trade, Investment and Industry”, “Education, Science-Technology-Innovation skills, Youth and Women Development”, “Infrastructure Development and Agriculture” and “Promoting Resilient Health Systems.”
The action plan contains concrete actions to be implemented by the parties, the declaration said.
The summit decided to establish appropriate follow-up mechanisms for monitoring and evaluation of agreed areas of cooperation.
The declaration noted that the next summit will convene in Africa in 2026.
A memorandum of understanding on cooperation was also signed between Turkey and the Secretariat of African Continental Free Trade Area.
- Developing together
Speaking at the closing ceremony, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said: “We want to develop together and increase the welfare of our people together, thus, we attach great importance to the memorandum of understanding.”
Erdogan said Turkey and African countries agreed on a joint action plan for partnership in several fields, including peace, security, infrastructure and trade.
At the summit, there were sessions on different topics such as agriculture, development and defense industry, he recalled.
Turkey will continue to cooperate with Africa on several issues, including reducing poverty, development and epidemics, he stressed, adding: “With this summit, we have crossed a vital threshold in Turkey-Africa relations.”
“I hope to see you [African leaders] at the second Antalya Diplomacy Forum in March 2022, which will be held under the main theme of Reconstructing Diplomacy,” Erdogan said.
- Historic gathering
Felix Tshisekedi, the African Union president, said Turkey, a country showing solidarity with Africa in all aspects, has paved the way for a historic summit.
He hailed Turkey’s win-win approach towards Africa and endeavor for mutual prosperity.
Speaking about infrastructure, Tshisekedi mentioned Africa’s difficulties in the provision of electricity and water resources to all of its citizens.
“We have ample water resources, we want Turkey’s expertise to use this in our continent,” he said.
Citing hardships faced by African countries due to COVID-19, he said there is a need to strengthen health system in the continent.
Tshisekedi, also president of the Democratic Republic of Congo, invited his Turkish counterpart to visit his country next year.
- Focus on peace
Moussa Faki Mahamat, chairman of the African Union Commission, stressed that Africa seeks to benefit from Turkey's strong industrial and trade power within the scope of its partnership with the country.
"The both parties are keen to work together," Mahamat underlined.
Noting that Turkey has an advantage of never having colonial ties with Africa, Mahamat said this situation offers a partnership based on egalitarian principles.
He stressed African countries' willingness to make added value production with raw materials and basic goods it imported.
The partnership with Turkey is welcomed by all participants of the summit, Mahamat said, adding: "In order to generate a positive outcome we should focus on peace."
As some African countries struggle with terrorism, he said permanent finance from the UN is a need for the continent to be able to defend itself.
Highlighting that development is a must to ensure peace, Mahamat said: "For this, stability and peace are indispensable. Peace is the priority of the African continent."