Trade Between Nigeria and Turkey Now $2 Billion


The ECOWAS– Turkish export products fair is scheduled to hold in Lagos next week. Mr. Yavuz Zemheri is an executive member of the association of investors and businessmen of Turkey and Nigeria. He said the fair has huge economic relevance for the country as Turkey imports 90 percent of its sesame need from Nigeria. It's basically about bringing the whole of the West African sub region and Turkey to Nigeria. Over 150 companies from different sectors comprising of machineries, household appliances, textile, technology and many more are coming from Turkey. This fair also gives opportunities for people who want to partner with Nigerian businessmen, as is it also open for those who want to invest their businesses in Nigeria. The fair is also going to be an opportunity for small scale investors in Nigeria to key into some of the business ideas that other business men and women from the Diaspora will be coming with.

Why did you choose Nigeria as the first country to host this exhibition in West Africa?

Nigeria is the largest and biggest market on the African continent. It has a very large population and Nigeria is a very popular country in Africa and it is also the leading country in Africa especially the ECOWAS region.

Nigeria is the hub of African business opportunities so it was clear we had to start from Nigeria. From here we can go on to Ghana and then to other African countries. But for now Nigeria has huge potentials which it is yet to realize and utilize well. Nigeria is West Africa and so we had to partner with ECOWAS to be able to achieve this.

Do you think people will be quick to conclude that Nigeria is a market for substandard goods from foreign countries? And would it be right to say Turkey is towing the same line?

It would be absolutely wrong and a grievous misconception for anyone to think that Nigeria is a dump site for any commodity. Interestingly in our association, we have Nigerian members as we are not only working for Turkish businessmen. Again, talking about substandard products, it depends on the country because anyone can testify that Turkish products are of European quality. The prices are of course higher than Chinese products and at the same time lower than European prices. These days, people are complaining about Chinese products and we know what it could mean for business so we are certain that we would bring in quality products to this fair because in the near future we do not want to have complaints about Turkish products so we are nipping it in the bud to avoid such cases in future.

Also as an association, we have selected the over 150 companies that would be coming here out of 125, 000. We made sure that the best of the best was selected to come for the exhibition.

What were the criteria for the selection of these companies?

The first and foremost criteria was for them not to only come and be part of the exhibition but to also come and invest in Nigeria. They had to be willing and ready to invest in Nigeria. So if they can find themselves credible Nigerians whom they can partner with and they are ready to come and invest here. Another criterion is that their businesses must not have any problems no matter how small. If their businesses have a problem especially enormous ones then they cannot be our member.

If that is the case, how do the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) fit in here?

No, it is not right to think so. Most TUSKON members are comprised of medium and small scale companies. What I was trying to explain is that we don't want companies that have big problems to resolve. It's simple, if they cannot handle their internal problems and allow it to evolve into big problems, how will they cope with partners from another country? We have big companies but they are on their own for their profit and can take any risk in terms of substandard goods but we are not involved in that and we do not admit such members in our association. This association is the largest and the biggest NGO in Turkey right now, so we cannot afford to take risks. Again in the Nigerian Turkish business Association, we have more Nigerian businessmen.

Who are your target market here in Nigeria for the exhibition?

We are focusing on a general target market. I mentioned earlier that we have eight categories of business to exhibit and each of these businesses have a target audience which ranges from the elite to the medium and small scale business man and even to the ordinary man on the street. So, in a nutshell, it is a business fair for the generality of the society. Everyone is welcome to the exhibition and it is free also.

How does this exhibition hope to improve the Nigerian economy?

With this exhibition, we hope that very soon there would be a standard for the Nigerian market. By this also we hope to eliminate the cheap and substandard products in circulation in the country for affordable and genuine products. This way, it will help the economy of Nigeria to prosper and at the same time people will no longer see Nigeria as a dumping ground for every substandard product. Most importantly, when people come to invest in Nigeria, the country can compete favorably with other companies abroad. If there is high competence in Nigerian manufacturers, people will automatically come and invest here which means more money for the country.

In 2006, the business between Nigeria and Turkey was $260million but by the end of 2012 it had surpassed $2billion and we are hoping it will exceed this amount this year.

We are also into talks with the Nigerian government but as you know this could take a while but we are heading somewhere gradually.

You have been talking about bringing Turkish products to Nigeria. Have you really thought about exporting Nigerian products to Turkey?

Yes, we have really thought about that especially in the agricultural sector. We have been exporting Nigerian products to Turkey. For example, 90% of sesame seeds are imported from Nigeria to Turkey. So, yes we are also taking from the Nigerian market just as we are bringing ours here too. Nigeria has a lot to offer. In the near future if Nigeria goes at the pace in which it's moving it will surpass South Africa and become the best in Africa, business wise. There are many projects going on in Nigeria which will turn out to be for the good of the country.

What were some of the challenges you came across while putting this exhibition together?

Actually the media report about Nigeria concerning insecurity is the biggest challenge. Many people want to come but are skeptical when they are faced with the news about the security problems in Nigeria. I have been in the country for years now and I know Nigeria is one of the safest and good places for business. The biggest challenge is the media misrepresentation of Nigeria's image to the world. We do a lot of convincing to get people here.


via Daily Trust

Trade Between Nigeria and Turkey Now $2 Billion