Turkey, West African trade bloc ink cooperation deal
Anadolu Agency | February 23, 2018- Turkey and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) signed a trade and investment cooperation agreement on Thursday during an economic and business forum in Istanbul.
The forum welcomed the establishment of ECOWAS-Turkey Joint Commission, according to a joint declaration.
The agreement was recognized as a great achievement of the forum and an important milestone in institutionalizing relations between Turkey and ECOWAS Commission.
The stakeholders decided to intensify collaboration in a number of areas such as finalizing legal framework for developing and promoting trade and investment cooperation, increasing the trade volume, developing investment relations, implementation of joint infrastructure and development projects, and developing financing mechanisms for trade and investment.
It was also decided that a dialogue will be held between Turkey's Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEIK) and Federation of West Africa Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FEWACCI).
The agreement added that private sectors of member countries will be strengthened through the establishment of business councils at a bilateral level.
Turkey expressed its willingness to start negotiations for a free trade agreement.
Ministers and government officials from 15 ECOWAS member-states -- Benin, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Cote d'Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo -- participated in the forum.
Several meetings were held in which West African officials promoted their projects to Turkish businesses.
The next forum will be held in 2019.
ECOWAS was established in 1975 in order to promote West African countries' integration in various areas such as industry, transport, telecommunications, energy, agriculture, natural resources, commerce, monetary and financial questions, and social and cultural issues.