The ECOWAS Commission has signed a trade and investment cooperation agreement with the Republic of Turkey as part of efforts to deepen economic cooperation between members of the Sub-regional body and Turkey.
Signing the ‘Turkey-ECOWAS Trade and Investment Cooperation Agreement’ , is seen as a principal step toward institutionalising relations between Turkey and the ECOWAS Commission.
The two parties also welcomed the establishment of an ECOWAS-Turkey Joint Commission by signing the Turkey-ECOWAS Trade and Investment Cooperation Agreement.
The development follows talks by representatives of 15 ECOWAS member-states led by the ECOWAS Commissioner for Industry and Private Sector Promotion, Mr. Kalilou Traore, with the Turkish government represented by the Minister of Economy of the Republic of Turkey, Nihat Zeybekci, at the first Turkey-ECOWAS Economic and Business Forum in Istanbul.
In line with the decisions taken at the first and second Turkey-Africa Partnership Summits, held in Istanbul in 2008 and Malabo in 2014, and the Turkey-Africa Economic Business Forum in 2016, Turkey and ECOWAS decided to jointly organise this business forum to foster closer cooperation between Turkey and West African states.
The business and economic forum brought together more than 500 Turkish and West African businesses which engaged in one-on-one business to business meetings to explore opportunities for business engagement.
In the meeting that led to signing the latest agreement, the parties decided to intensify their collaboration in several identified areas of interest.
They include: Ensuring finalisation of the legal framework for developing and promoting trade and investment cooperation; Increasing the trade volume in a balanced manner; and, Implementation of joint infrastructure and development projects.
Other areas also identified were: developing financing mechanisms for trade and investment; Improving the logistics connectivity between Turkey and ECOWAS member-states; developing trade facilitation in line with WTO Trade Facilitation Agreements.
It was also agreed to establish a dialogue between the Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEIK) and Federation of West Africa Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FEWACCI), and to strengthen relations between private sectors through the establishment of Business Councils at the bilateral level, inter alia.
To achieve these objectives, the Turkish side indicated its readiness to enter into negotiations for Free Trade Agreements, considering the priorities and specificities of the ECOWAS member-states.
ECOWAS, however, indicated it intended to consider the proposal at the appropriate level.
At the Forum, the parties noted with great satisfaction the growing and diversifying Turkey-ECOWAS partnership.