Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has appointed Minister of Family, Labour and Social Services Zehra Zumruk Selcuk as co-chairperson of the Turkey-Zambia Joint Economic Commission.
The Zambia-Turkey Joint Economic Commission is a framework of cooperation between Zambia and Turkey designed to promote trade and investment between the two countries.
The Commission is also responsible for implementation of activities under the Agreement on Trade and Economic Cooperation signed by the two countries on December 15, 2011 in Geneva.
Mrs Selcuk said bilateral relations with Zambia are of strategic importance to Turkey on the African continent.
The Minister was concerned that the trade volume between the two countries had not improved since the signing of the Agreement on Trade and Economic Cooperation eight years ago.
She made the remarks during a bilateral meeting with Zambia’s Ambassador to Turkey, Joseph Chilengi in Ankara yesterday.
“As directed by His Excellency President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, we want to bring the Joint Economic Commission back to life to increase trade volume and we want to hold the inaugural meeting within this year.
“When we look at the trade volume, it has been fluctuating…in 2015, the trade volume between Zambia and Turkey was US$ 22 million and in 2018, it was US$18 million,” she said.
She also observed that Turkey’s investment in the construction industry in Zambia was only worth US$82,000 when the country boasts of the world’s most advanced construction sector.
Mrs Selcuk added that overall Turkish investment in Zambia stands at US$ 7 million.
She hoped that trade relations between the two countries would further improve with her appointment as co-chairperson of the Turkey-Zambia Joint Economic Commission.
“Zambia with its rich natural resources and human resources is a promising country for both development and investment,” Mrs Selcuk said.
She described July last year as a historic month in the bilateral relations between Zambia and Turkey as President Edgar Lungu and his Turkish counterpart undertook reciprocal visits to further strengthen relations.
Meanwhile, Dr Chilengi conveyed to Mrs Selcuk a congratulatory message from Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Malanji on her appointment as co-chair of the Turkey-Zambia Joint Economic Commission.
He expressed happiness with the warm and cordial bilateral relations that exist between the two countries.
Dr Chilengi reaffirmed Zambia’s desire to further strengthen bilateral relations with Turkey.
He said Zambia attaches importance to the Commission because the framework oversees implementation of the Trade and Economic Agreement signed between Zambia and Turkey aimed at promoting trade and investment between the two
“My Government looks forward to the inaugural Zambia-Turkey Joint Economic Commission as it will provide an opportunity for the two countries to review the implementation of the signed development cooperation agreements,” Dr Chilengi said.
The Turkey-Zambia Joint Economic Commission is co-chaired by Mrs Selcuk and Mr Malanji.
This is contained in a statement issued by Jerry Munthali First Secretary (Press) Embassy of the Republic of Zambia , Ankara, Turkey.