MOGADISHU, Jan. 15 (Xinhua) -- Somalia said on Monday that it signed a raft of trade agreements with Turkey aimed at boosting an already thriving economic cooperation between the two countries.
Somali Deputy Prime Minister Mahdi Ahmed Gulaid said he signed a cooperation protocol during the inaugural meeting of a Joint Economic Commission (JEC), noting that Mogadishu was open to foreign investment and ready to boost trade cooperation with all friendly countries.
"The agreements will also open Somali exports to Central Asian markets through the Turkish gateway as well as to contribute to the country's economic recovery and to generate employment for the Somali youth," Gulaid said in a statement issued in Mogadishu.
He said the objective of the JEC is to translate the number of memorandums of understanding signed between the two countries into reality with immediate priority being to open Turkish markets for Somali products such as dry lemon, sesame and banana.
The deputy prime minister stressed that revitalizing the Horn of Africa country's economy was one of the top priorities of the Somali government.
The two countries had previously signed trade agreements in areas such as energy, mines, electricity, higher education, agriculture, and fisheries.
Gulaid said Turkey's investment in Somalia is more than 100 million U.S. dollars, predicting that the bilateral trade volume could rise to 200 million dollars from about 120 million dollars in 2016.
The two countries resolved to convene regular meetings to follow up on the implementation of the agreements and to bolster the strategic cooperation in the years to come.
"Apart from the historical relations between our countries, Turkey has become a very important ally for the Somali people and we are committed to consolidate these relations for the mutual benefit of our two countries," Gulaid said.
He said trade ties will also open the gates for the Somali business community to have business-to-business deals with their Turkish counterparts and to participate in Turkish trade fairs.