Kalilou Traore, ECOWAS commissioner for industry and private sector promotion, speaks during an economic and business forum with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in Istanbul, Turkey on Feb. 22, 2018. Turkey and West African states on Thursday vowed to deepen their trade and economic relations through mutual investments. (Xinhua/He Canling)
ISTANBUL, Feb. 22 (Xinhua) -- Turkey and West African states on Thursday vowed to deepen their trade and economic relations through mutual investments.
"Our main goal here is to maximize the mutual benefits of both sides in a balanced manner," Turkish Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci said at an economic and business forum with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in Istanbul.
"We can build together, produce together, sell what's produced together and share the profit," said Zeybekci.
The minister also urged ECOWAS member states to finalize a fully-integrated free trade agreement to be signed in the very near future, "so that both sides could both win and our relations become long-term, sustainable and predictable."
According to Zeybekci, Turkey's trade volume with ECOWAS members stands now at 3 billion U.S. dollars, far below the expectations.
"Our target in the short term is to increase our trade volume to 5 billion and raise it to 10 billion dollars in the mid term," he said.
Kalilou Traore, ECOWAS commissioner for industry and private sector promotion, spoke of rich investment opportunities in West African states in the fields of water, energy, agriculture and transportation, including highways, railways and sea routes.
He called on Turkish companies to invest in these fields, pledging to help facilitate the entire process of investment.
Germain Essohouna Meba, president of the Federation of West Africa Chamber of Commerce and Industry, highlighted the importance of the private sector's development in West Africa.
He noted that the private sector has been diverted significantly toward the fields of energy, agriculture and transportation, "in which the need for new investments remains high."
"The investment and trade agreements that will be signed during the forum with Turkey will definitely contribute to the development of these fields," Meba said.
Present for the two-day forum are ministers, high-ranking officials and over 1,000 business people from 15 West African countries.