By JOHN SAKALA
Turkey’s largest privately-owned investment bank Aktif Bank, to explore opportunities in the banking and financial sector aimed at facilitating trade between the two countries.
Aktif Bank Financial Institutions Marketing Manager, Utku Arik said a deligation is expected to be in Zambia today.
Mr Arik said during the visit, the delegation is expected to hold meetings with 10 Zambian commercial banks under the umbrella of the Bankers Association of Zambia (BAZ).
“Our aim is to open accounts with Zambian commercial banks to facilitate trade between Zambia and Turkey as well as the rest of the world so that through those accounts, Zambian businessmen can be able to pay beneficiaries in Turkey and other countries,” Mr Arik said.
He was speaking during a send-off meeting with Zambia’s Ambassador to Turkey, Joseph Chilengi at the Zambian Chancery in Ankara.
“What we do basically, we try to facilitate trade between the specific African country and Turkey as well as the rest of the world, so we act as a bridge,” Mr Arik said.
And Dr Chilengi expressed concern that the trade volume between Zambia and Turkey, which stands at US$ 22 million has remained relatively low.
He said as acknowledged by President Edgar Lungu and his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the low levels of trade do not reflect the potential of the two countries with a combined population of 100 million.
Dr Chilengi, however, expressed happiness that Zambia and Turkey are working towards increasing bilateral trade and investment.
He wished the delegation the best of luck in their discussions.
Aktif Bank is owned by Turkish conglomerate Calik Group, which has affiliate companies in energy, mining, textiles and construction.
Apart from Turkey, Aktif Bank has operations in Albania and Kosovo. In addition, the Turkish investment bank manages over 750 accounts of over 250 banks in the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Europe and America.
In sub-Saharan Africa, Aktif Bank manages 203 accounts in different currencies for 73 banks.
This is according to a media statement by First Secretary for Press at the Zambian Embassy in Turkey Jerry Munthali.