The third Turkey-Africa Summit will commence the second day of meetings today in Istanbul.
The meeting will bring together Turkish officials, 13 heads of state, and other representatives from 39 African countries to discuss a five-year action plan on advancing bilateral relations. Security and defense are key discussion points since Erdogan pledged to increase bilateral trade with Africa from $25 to $50 billion two months ago at a senior-level trade and investment forum.
For Erdogan, the Summit presents an opportunity to partially rebound from the Turkish lira’s 50% decline in value against the dollar this week. Security and defense exports, relatively, represent a critical constituent toward improving the country’s economy.
Given Turkey’s growing reputation as a reliable global arms producer, especially in drone manufacturing, military deals will feature significantly in the Summit. In the past year, Turkish defense exports to Ethiopia increased to $94.6 million from $235,000, with similar sales to Angola, Chad, and Morocco.
Regardless of the number of deals struck, the Summit will not propel Ankara out of its currency crisis. This is predominantly owing to Erdogan’s economic program, which emphasizes the seizure of monetary policy control from central bankers, and his unconventional view that high-interest rates equate to high inflation.
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Alan is an analyst with the Current Developments team, focusing on security and politics, particularly within the former Soviet Union, the Middle East and Africa. He contributes regularly to the Daily Brief.