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Turkey, West Africa strengthen co-operation

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan embarked on 26 February on a five-day Africa tour to visit four African countries - Algeria, Mauritania, Mali and Senegal - in a bid to extend Turkey’s influence on the African continent. It was president Erdogan’s first visit to Mali and Mauritania and his second African tour. He visited Chad, Sudan and Tunisia in December 2017. “Every day, our relationship with Africa is growing in the field of tourism, culture, trade and education,” declared President Erdogan. While Turkey has progressively increased its diplomatic representation and has 41 embassies on the African continent, it has also deepened its economic co-operation, especially in the construction sector. For example, a consortium of Turkish firms completed the construction of the new Blaise Diagne International Airport in Senegal. Several new contracts were signed during Erdogan’s Africa tour. Moreover, the Turkish Ministry of Economy hosted a forum on “Deepening Economic Partnership between Turkey and ECOWAS Members” on 22-23 February 2018 in Istanbul. The forum aimed to raise awareness of Turkish-West African business circles and identify new co-operation opportunities between Turkey and West Africa.