Turkish trade relations on new footing
The agreement covers investment promotion, trade facilitation, visa exemptions, tourism cooperation, and airline cooperation. Referring to the NDP 4-envisaged logistics hub, Schlettwein said the agreement is Namibia’s first step into selling itself as a gateway to SADC and improve investment flow into the country. “This agreement will assist our economic policy and put an emphasis on improved trade with finished goods from both sectors , a committee will be created to implement the facets of the agreement which also entails attracting more Turkish nationals into exploring business opportunities in Namibia”.
He also said the agreement with regards to airlines seeks to link Namibia’s airline with other modes of transport and improve [the operation of] Namibia’s airline as well as prioritizing the provision of aviation services through improving airports in the country. He hopes that this will be achieved through a memorandum of understanding that was signed between Turkish Airlines and Air Namibia which entails capacity building between the two airlines and the training of Namibian stewardesses.
Schlettwein stressed that although trade between the two countries is limited, it has much scope to grow and that this agreement is the first step to implement a larger framework of cooperation.
“Currently Turkey’s population stands at 76 million, and almost 28 million of its population is in the labour force. It is the 6th biggest economy in Europe and the 17th biggest in the world, so it has a lot to offer Namibia”, said Cakar adding that she is hopeful for future cooperation between the two countries especially in tourism.
Namibia has had trade relations with Turkey since the 1960’s but the first Turkish Embassy in an independent Namibia was only established in 2012. Cakar described the new agreement as a milestone for Turkey as the country had been wishing to establish a strong presence in Namibia since the opening of the embassy. Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Hon Tweya Tjekero welcomed the move and said he also hopes that the agreement will boost both countries’ economies. He said he is positive that it will increase the volume of trade between the two countries as Namibia is a gate way to SADC just as Turkey is to Europe.
Turkey imports seal products and fish from Namibia and Namibia imports electronics and metals. In 2012 bilateral trade volumes between the two countries stood at N$98 million.