Turkish Export Week: Lessons for Zim industries
THE Zimbabwean business delegation led by myself under the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) banner and Honourable Keith Guzah from Government, travelled to Turkey at the invitation of the Turkish National Assembly to attend the widely acclaimed Turkish export week, which took place between 1-3 November 2017 at the Istanbul Congress Centre.
The invite followed the signing of an MoU between CZI and their Turkish counterparts, DEIK at Victoria Falls during the recent CZI annual congress. The event was graced by the country’s Prime Minister — Mr Binali Yildirim and ministers of related industries such as customs and trade, finance, labour, social security, food, agriculture and livestock, science, industry and technology. Some were drawn from culture and tourism. These led trade — related panel discussions on export financing, logistics and customs procedures, services exports and failure experiences.
One of the key panel discussions involved leading world conglomerates such as Toyota and Unilever, whom Turkey engages directly at the highest level to court them for investment in their country. Turkey believes such direct engagements with the world’s popular brands will help bolster their export initiatives.
Concurrent to the seminars, a buyers’ mission programme comprising 660 from 64 countries representing all continents, took place. Turkey is the commercial gate way to both Asia and Europe and is aiming to make continued significant strides in facilitating international trade because of its strategic geographical location. Aligned to its global trade growth vision, currently estimated at 3.6 percent by the IMF’s World Economic Outlook. Turkey is looking at increased cooperation with African countries under the theme “Let Turkey win, Let Africa win; Let Africa grow, let Turkey get its share”.
The Zimbabwean 16-member business delegation comprised of Honourable Guzah (founder — National Business Council of Zimbabwe), myself Joseph Gunda (general manager — General Beltings and representative of the CZI), Ms Ivy Musora (Business Optimisation — Mediterranean Shipping Company), Mr Emmanuel Chimedza (director — Essar Tubes and Towers and representative of the Construction Industry Federation of Zimbabwe and member of CZI), Mr Simplicio Shamba (president — Motor Industry Association of Zimbabwe and CZI member), Mr Charles Tsorayi (CEO — Seasonal Footwear (Pvt) Ltd) and representative of the Zimbabwe Leather Council and CZI member).
Others were Mr Israel Muchuchu (head of human capital and special projects at Colcom Holdings Limited and representative of the Stock-feed Manufacturers’ Association), Mr Charles Chirikure (director — Konak Enterprises), Mr Kelvin Motsi (director — MC Freight Solutions), Mr Luckson Gwara (director — Superlux Automotive), Mrs Nancy Murove (executive Wholesale, Corporates & SMEs – NetOne Cellular and CZI Member), Ms Elizabeth Bore (manufacturing executive — ZFC Limited and CZI member); Mr Patel (director — Shriji Luggage Ware (Pvt) Ltd); Mr Clive Oxden — Willows (managing director – Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Services and CZI member) and Mr Henry Nemaire (director —Tanganda Tea Company and CZI member).
The main objective of Zimbabwe’s participation was twofold: To establish investment linkages with Turkish companies subsequent to the MoU as well as we seek new export markets in Turkey and from participants from other countries represented.
Exploring alternative cheap sources of raw materials and other commodities for Zimbabwe’s manufacturing sector from Turkey. For example, agrochemicals, rubber chemicals and fabrics, food chemicals, technology upgrades in telecommunications (for TelOne), alternative motor vehicle brands appealing to the Zimbabwean market (for Toyota) and so on. All Zimbabwean companies and their representatives were allocated tables amongst so many African countries for B2B meetings to showcase their products/services and interact with the Turkish business community directly on areas of mutual interest. The interactions were highly intensive and clearly demonstrated how Turkey is serious about investment in Zimbabwe.
Further to this, I arranged two very constructive meetings with the President of DEIK for Zimbabwean Business Council. He shared with us the Turkish Government vision for the industrialised City of Konya, which they intend to turn into an agricultural Special Economic Zone (SEZ). There are a lot of prospects for business linkages in this area and Zimbabwe has a chance to get a few lessons particularly on agro industries.
The trip was an eye opener particularly on how a sincere business to government engagement can influence and drive economic growth. With a GDP of US$857.7billion as of 2016,Turkey does not have natural resources as does Zimbabwe but has recorded budget surplus of US$1.64 billion as of August 2017.
A Turkish export increased by 8.7 percent from previous year 2016 to US$11.8 billion as of September 2017 and this is driven by manufacturing (93.3 percent), agriculture and hunting (3.6 percent, mining and quarrying (2.4 percent) and tourism. Taking advantage of their geographical location, they have recorded 25.3billion tourist arrivals in 2016 through their ports generating US$22.1billion in revenue for the country all this through robust policies.
Our team is busy consolidating and summarising all the interactions with a view to present and share this experience with other business members and the relevant ministry on the prospects of strategic partnerships and business linkages with Turkey. Only then can we be able to establish if we have partnerships established.
Mr Joseph Gunda is the president of CZI Matabeleland Chapter. He led the Zimbabwean delegation to Turkey.
Part of the Zimbabwean business delegation under the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries banner who attended the Turkish export week, in Turkey