Virtual Landing from Women Exporters to Africa Special for March 8

TİM CHAIRMAN GÜLLE: THIS YEAR WE WILL EXCEED 20 BILLION DOLLARS IN AFRICA WITH OUR WOMEN EXPORTERS

Turkish Exporters Assembly (TİM) on International Women's Day on March 8; It is organizing a virtual trade delegation women-only exporter to Africa. Women exporters showed great interest in the organization, which brings together exporters and buyers in South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, and Tanzania online. At the opening of the program, TİM Women's Council, of which women exporters are members, who have done important work to increase the number of women who are exporters, was also present.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's wife Emine Erdoğan also sent a written message to the program. Celebrating International Women's Day on March 8th, Erdoğan said, “The initiatives that support African women and strengthen the dialogue and cooperation between us are admirable. I believe that the African Virtual Trade Delegation of Women Exporters will lead to extremely good works.”

TİM Chairman İsmail Gülle said, “With the awareness that without our women, we will not be able to advance our export goals; we will continue to work together, produce and create added value so that we can build 'Türkiye Rising with Exports' together. Türkiye exported 15 billion 246 million dollars to Africa in 2020. Africa's share of our exports was 9 percent. In this period where we have set records in successive exports, our goal is to export over 20 billion dollars to the continent this year.”

The TİM Women's Council, which was established as a first within Turkish Exporters Assembly (TİM) in 2018 and has 54 members, continues its work without slowing down to increase the number of women exporters and ensuring that they are more effective in the field of exports. In this context, to reduce the effects of shrinking international trade during the Covid-19 process, the Republic of Türkiye Ministry of Commerce coordination and TİM organization and the African Virtual General Trade Delegation covering South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, and Tanzania are organized for women who are exporters between March 8-15.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's wife Emine Erdoğan also sent a written message to the program, which was held exclusively for Türkiye's women exporters, which began on International Women's Day on March 8. Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan, TİM Chairman İsmail Gülle, Turkish Ambassador to Abuja Ahmet Melih Ulueren, Turkish Ambassador to Pretoria Elif Çomoğlu Ülgen, Turkish Ambassador to Nairobi Ahmet Cemil Miroğlu, Türkiye's Ambassador to Darussalam Onur Yay attended the opening of the program. TİM Women's Council members also took part in the opening of the program.

Erdoğan: Initiatives supporting African women are admirable

Emine Erdoğan, who celebrated International Women's Day on March 8, said, “The Precious Turkish Exporters Assembly Family, regardless of geography, has the power to positively affect the whole world. The common issues of women of different societies can be solved much more easily through cooperation based on brotherhood. The African continent has a very special place in our country and our hearts. Therefore, the initiatives that support African women and strengthen the dialogue and cooperation between us are admirable. I believe that the African Virtual Trade Delegation of Women Exporters will lead to extremely good works. The African Expansion launched by our country in 2005 has yielded many beautiful fruits. One of them is the African Craft Market and Culture House, a fair market where African women can be evaluated for their handiwork. The center, which operates in Ankara, is an expression of respect for the handiwork of African women. I expect the active participation of the African Virtual Trade Delegation in this work and wish your efforts to be permanent.”

Pekcan: Our number of female managers has increased to 244 thousand

Commerce Minister Ruhsar Pekcan, who started her speech by celebrating International Women's Day on March 8th, “The issue of effective and egalitarian participation of women in economic life is not a day, but one that should be emphasized with sensitivity every day. International Women's Day on March 8th is an opportunity to evaluate, to review the status and role of women in social, cultural economic, and political life. While undeniable gains have been made in our country regarding the role and status of our women to date, it is also fixed that we must continue to work for the integration of more women into economic life. In the last 15 years, the participation rate of women in the workforce in our country has increased from 23 percent to 34 percent. Our number of employer women has increased from 49 thousand to 129 thousand, the number of women working on their behalf and accounts has increased from 490 thousand to 800 thousand, and our number of managers has increased from 126 thousand to 244 thousand. According to the Women and Trade 2020 report prepared in cooperation with the World Trade Organization and the World Bank, it is seen that women in developing countries make up 24 percent of the workforce in companies that do not trade foreign trade, and in companies engaged in foreign trade, this rate has increased to 33 percent.” she said.

“Our trade volume with Africa has increased 5 times”

Stating that a total of 64 different virtual trade delegations, both general and sectoral, have been held since May last year, Minister Pekcan said, “In these delegations, our companies conducted approximately 10 thousand job interviews with nearly 3 thousand foreign companies online. To date, 19 virtual fairs related to our different goods and services sectors have been completed with over 154 thousand participants. We attach great importance to the development of our relations with African countries within the framework of our efforts to expand to different markets and deepen our export portfolio in existing markets. Significant distances have been made since our strategy to improve trade and economic relations with Africa was announced by our President in 2003. In 2003, when we launched our Africa strategy, our trade volume with the continent increased 5-fold from approximately 5,4 billion dollars to 25 billion 300 million dollars. Our exports to the continent amounted to only 2,1 billion dollars in 2003, while this figure increased to 15.2 billion dollars in 2020. We must continue to work together and make the most of the opportunities offered by African countries. I believe we can achieve much higher trade figures based on mutual gain. In addition to trade, we must continue to work for Africa to bring our contracting project volume, which has already reached 71.1 billion dollars, and our investments exceeding 6 billion dollars too much better levels.”

“Our goal is Türkiye, where men and women participate equally in exports”

Noting that at the speech of the opening of the program, women have taken a more active role in business and social life in recent years, TİM Chairman İsmail Gülle said, “As Turkish Exporters Assembly, we are aware of the leverage effect arising from the participation of women in our economy. We are aware that women bring a new breath to the business environment. In our country, the duration of women's stays in the work-life increased by 2.4 years in 7 years. The proportion of female ambassadors was 9.4 percent in 2007, compared to 25 percent in 2020.

The proportion of female MPs entering parliament was 9.1 percent in 2007, compared to 17.3 percent in 2020. Our goal is men and women; it is a Turkish economy where it participates equally in production, exports, and added value.

In line with this goal, we established the “TİM Women's Council”, which is the first in our assembly, to represent more women in business and non-governmental organizations. In this way, TİM has pioneered the business world within the framework of equality between men and women.”

“Our Women's Council is signing too many important projects”

About the work of TİM Women's Council, Gülle gave the following information: “Our TİM Women's Council continues to work under 9 different committees, ranging from digital communication, international relations, education and mentoring, social awareness and climate studies. With our Women's Council, which we established 2 years ago, we have signed many important projects in a short time. Inspired by Mrs. Emine Erdoğan's “Zero Waste Initiative”, we implemented the “Zero Waste in Export Project” within our Assembly and gave “Zero Waste Awareness Training in Exports” to all our staff within the scope of the project. Our female exporters shared their inspiring stories with our exporters at TİM Women Export Talks meetings. We organized a Latin American Virtual Trade Delegation dedicated to our female exporters. TİM Women's Council has produced extremely important projects such as Sustainability Report and the Women's Entrepreneurship Program.

“We cannot advance our goals without our women”

For the development of the country's economy, Gülle stated that they will evaluate the female exporters who have made important contributions to production, employment, and exports according to their annual export performance and will reward them at the “Strong Women of Export Award Ceremony” and said, “We have many projects that we plan to carry out during the year. Saying “Strong Women, Strong Exports, Stronger Türkiye”, hopefully, we will organize the Turkish Women Exporters Workshop.

Also, we believe that our “Strong Women of Export Film” project will make an important contribution to the promotion of the achievements of our female exporters.  We will hold our ceremony, which we postponed last year due to the pandemic, in a physical environment. With the awareness that without our women, we will not be able to advance our export goals; we will continue to work together, produce, and create added value so that we can build 'Türkiye Rising with Exports' together.”

“Türkiye is one of the top 10 suppliers in Africa”

Emphasizing that Türkiye is among the top 10 suppliers of the continent in 2019, taking a 3 percent share of Africa's total imports with exports of 16 billion 945 million dollars, Gülle said, “Africa stands out as a market that is increasing its importance for Türkiye day by day. Türkiye maintains its relations with Africa in the light of friendship and win-win principles. The process, which started with the Opening to Africa Policy, continued with the African Partnership Policy, which was implemented in 2013, and Türkiye's relations with the continent achieved significant gains during this period. Türkiye has increased the number of diplomatic missions on the continent and strengthened its institutional relations in many fields such as education, culture, transportation, and media. Türkiye, which is one of the most helpful countries in the world relative to its national income, continues its humanitarian and development assistance activities on the continent without interruption. The continent's fast-growing middle class is accelerating the upward trend in imports. We see that these imports are largely made from outside the continent.”

“We have identified 1,250 products that we need to export”

Gülle pointed out that in 2019, only 12 percent of imports from African countries were carried out within the continent, and to increase this rate, the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement, which came into force as of January 1, 2021, in which 54 of the 55 countries on the continent are members, has become one of the main agenda items of TİM. Gülle, “We are working with precision on this agreement, which we think will lead to the more effective use of rich natural and human resources on the continent, and what we can do to strengthen our relations with the continent. In this context, we have identified 1,250 products that Türkiye does not export to African countries but can export. We see that African countries import $50.2 billion from the world in these products, while Türkiye exports $2.2 billion to non-African countries in these products. We will publish this research in a report in the coming days.” he said.

“This year, the export target in Africa exceeds 20 billion dollars”

Gülle stated that Türkiye exported 15 billion 246 million dollars to Africa in 2020 and that Africa's share of our exports was 9 percent. Underlining that exports to Africa amounted to $1.3 billion in February, Gülle said, “In this period where we have set records in successive exports, hopefully, our goal is to export over $20 billion to the continent this year.”

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