By JOHN SAKALA
Turkey’s Independent Industrialists’ and Businessmen Association (MUSIAD) has expressed interest to establish a trade centre in Zambia.
MUSIAD vice president Mehmet Hilmi said the association has devised a plan to strengthen business and trade relations with Zambia and other African countries as directed by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
“We have prioritised three projects in Zambia, which include establishment of a Turkish Trade Centre, investment in agriculture and establishing an agro-processing equipment manufacturing and assembly plant,” Mr Hilmi said.
He made the remarks when a MUSIAD Konya branch delegation paid a courtesy call on Zambia’s Ambassador to Turkey, Dr Joseph Chilengi at the Zambian Chancery in Ankara yesterday.
Mr Hilmi who was flanked by MUSIAD Konya branch president Omer Okka, further urged the Zambian Mission in Ankara to help identify Zambian companies that could partner with Turkish companies.
“We want to establish a factory that can manufacture some spare parts for agricultural equipment and we will give it a local brand name. Our hope is that the surrounding countries will also be importing the equipment,” Mr Hilmi said.
Meanwhile, Dr Chilengi welcomed plans by MUSIAD Konya to establish a Trade Centre in Zambia, which could be used to exhibit Turkish products and help boost trade and investment between the two countries.
“My country provides opportunities in all those proposals you are mentioning and investment in agriculture and establishment of an agro-processing equipment manufacturing and assembly plant is welcome,” Dr Chilengi said.
He said Zambia is a member state of Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and Southern African Development Community (SADC).
He said Zambia’s strategic location provides Turkish investors with an opportunity to export within the 19-member COMESA and SADC Free Trade Areas (FTA) with a combined population of 600 million in addition to the Zambian market.
“Zambia has a comparative advantage in agriculture and my Government had established farm blocks in all the 10 provinces in which investors are free to invest,” Dr Chilengi said.
MUSIAD, which has 207 branches in the world, declared 2018 as the” African Year” and the Association opened a branch in Zambia last year.
This is according to a media statement by First Secretary for Press at the Zambian Embassy in Turkey.