ISTANBUL - Prime Minister, Bernard Makuza represented President Kagame at a four-day summit between African Heads-of-States and Turkey which started Monday in Istanbul.
The high-level summit, the first of its kind, was aimed at addressing ways to support and develop African/Turkish cooperation in various domains, especially opportunities for strengthening economic and trade cooperation.
In his speech, Makuza pointed out that Rwanda welcomed the strategic partnership that is based on mutually beneficial interactions. He said that genuine cooperation must emphasize every party’s priorities and demonstrate tangible results.
The Summit follows the decision of the African Union (AU) in January this year to declare the Republic of Turkey a strategic partner of Africa.
During the visit, the Premier met Turkey’s President Abdullah Gül and his Turkish counterpart Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Their discussions largely dwelt on bolstering relations and cooperation between the two countries.
Rwanda’s Premier further enlightened the Turkish leadership on the vast steps taken by Rwanda towards development since the 1994 Tutsi Genocide.
It was agreed that a special approach to strengthening bilateral cooperation, especially in agriculture, health, trade and investment between the two countries be set up.
Turkey pledged to assist Rwanda in the education sector by availing scholarships to Rwandan students to study in Turkish universities. Consequently, a pact to the effect will be prepared and signed very soon.
The summit, taking place under the theme “Solidarity and Partnership for a Common Future,” adopted two documents: Istanbul Declaration and the Framework of Co-operation, which are geared towards strengthening and guiding the co-operation and partnership between Africa and Turkey.
The framework for co-operation identified eight areas of mutual assistance, areas that cover: intergovernmental co-operation, trade and investment, health, peace and security, infrastructure development in energy, transport and telecommunications, culture and education, and media and communication.
On trade and development, Turkey and Africa emphasized moving toward both balanced and increased trade, and agreed to initiate and work toward concluding the appropriate legal infrastructure that would ensure economic, commercial and technical cooperation.
In health, the parties consolidated efforts to combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other infectious diseases and explored ways of increasing Africa’s capacity to manufacture generic drugs on the continent in order to make them readily available and more affordable.
In the pursuit of peace and security, Africa will cooperate with Turkey with a view of enhancing the training of relevant forces. They explored modalities for cooperation between the Centre of Excellence Defense against Terrorism based in Istanbul and the African Center for Research and Studies on Terrorism.
On infrastructure, the exchange of experiences and best practices for the development of renewable and sustainable energy was highlighted.
Turkey’s policy to open up to Africa is not a recent endeavor as it was initiated in 1998 with the Africa Action Plan followed by a decision to declare 2005 the “Year of Africa.”
Fifty of the fifty three African Union (AU) member states were represented at the Summit which ended Thursday.