By JOHN SAKALA
Turkey’s 430-member Balkan and Rumelian Industrialists and Businessmen (TURKSIAD) has pledged to partner with the business community in Zambia to promote trade and investment between the two countries.
This came to light when an eight-member delegation of business executives from Bursa, one of Turkey’s industrial cities and manufacturing hubs, paid a courtesy call on Zambia’s Ambassador to Turkey, Joseph Chilengi in Ankara on Tuesday, September 15, 2020.
Delegation leader, Atilla Odunc, who is Bursa Member of Parliament (MP) and Chairperson of the Turkey-Zambia Inter-Parliamentary Friendship Group, said the business community in Bursa under the umbrella of TURKSIAD, was looking forward to creating partnerships with the private sector in Zambia to help promote trade and investment between the two countries
“We would like to use our strong manufacturing potential in Bursa and partner with the private sector in Zambia to help add value to Zambian raw materials so that we can create jobs and wealth for the peoples of our two countries,” Mr Odunc said.
TURKSIAD chairperson, Berat Tunakan hoped that the interaction with the Zambian Mission in Ankara would help strengthen the existing strong relations between the two countries.
Mr Tunakan said Bursa contributes US$6 billion per year in exports to the Turkish economy while imports stand at US$12 billion from economic activities such as textiles, motor vehicle manufacturing, tourism and agriculture.
He said TURKSIAD planned to undertake a business mission to Zambia to explore trade and investment opportunities.
In his remarks, Dr Chilengi called on the business community in Turkey and Zambia to find innovative ways to operate in the new normal in the midst of uncertainty as the war against the COVID-19 pandemic continues.
Dr Chilengi said under the leadership of His Excellency Dr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, President of the Republic of Zambia, Zambia’s economic fundamentals remained strong and the country continues to be an investment destination of choice.
“I wish to state, with satisfaction, that the legal framework governing bilateral cooperation between the two countries is now in place following the signing of 12 agreements, most of which have since been ratified,” Dr Chilengi said.
The envoy cited the Protocol on Reciprocal Promotion and Protection of Investment between Zambia and Turkey, which came into effect in May 2020.
Dr Chilengi said the Reciprocal Promotion and Protection of Investment Agreement was very important as it gives investment security for the business community from the two countries.
He encouraged the delegation to expeditiously actualise plans to undertake a trade and investment Mission to Zambia for an on-the-spot check of existing trade and investment opportunities as well as to interact with various captains of industry in Zambia
Meanwhile, TURSIAD has donated 20,000 medical masks to Zambia to help stem the spread of COVID-19.
Speaking when he handed over the consignment to Dr Chilengi, Mr Odunc said international solidarity was important in the fight against COVID-19 as the whole world was grappling with the pandemic.
In response, Dr Chilengi thanked the delegation for the kind gesture as it would augment the existing measures that Government has put in place to limit the spread of the respiratory disease.
This is according to a media statement made available to The Independent Observer by First Secretary for Press at the Zambian Embassy in Turkey Jeremy Munthali.