The Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey to Botswana and the Southern African Development Community (SADC), Her Excellency, Ms. Meltem Büyükkarakaş, presented her letters of credence to the SADC Executive Secretary, Her Excellency Dr. Stergomena Lawrence Tax on 13th February, 2019, in Gaborone, Botswana.
H.E. Dr Tax congratulated her for the new appointment and welcomed her to SADC. She further noted that the Republic of Turkey has made great strides in the area of industrialisation from which, SADC Member States can learn in order to transform SADC economies. The Executive Secretary also informed the Ambassador that the SADC region is peaceful and politically stable, therefore, provides a conducive environment for Turkish citizens to invest within the region. Dr. Tax further indicated that the SADC Free Trade Area, and the COMESA-EAC-SADC Free Trade Area offer an integrated and expanded market for investments.
On her part, H.E. Meltem Büyükkarakaş said the Government of Turkey recognizes the important role of SADC in regional integration, promotion of peace and security and economic development. On this note, the Ambassador indicated that the Republic of Turkey would like to enter into a meaningful relationship with SADC. She explained that Turkey has renewed interests in new relations with Africa, especially, Sub-Saharan region. She said, currently Turkey has opened 10 Embassies across SADC Member States, and that the Turkish Airlines is increasing its foot print across the African continent.
Her Excellency Ambassador Meltem Büyükkarakaş further explained that investors from Turkey are eager to come and invest in Africa. She said, currently, Turkey's investment in Africa alone stands at US$6.2 billion, citing this figure as a statement of intent by her country's commitment in increasing her investment on the continent. She said that, her government is ready to share expertise with SADC in areas of skills development, health, military training and agriculture.
The two parties made a commitment to continue to explore and discuss concrete areas of partnerships and cooperation with clear targets for the mutual benefit of the parties.