East Africa’s largest indoor arena in Rwanda; a national mosque in Ghana; an army base in Somalia; and an almost 400km-long railway project which would help give landlocked Ethiopia direct access to major trade routes through the port of Djibouti.
These are just some of Turkey’s increasingly growing footprints across sub-Saharan Africa as Ankara has over the past two decades sought to present itself as an alternative player in a continent that has long witnessed fierce competition between traditional European powers and newcomers.
Nonetheless, Turkey’s outreach might bear more fruit as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is set to kick off another round of a diplomatic tour on Sunday that covers Angola, Nigeria and Togo.
Alongside the signing of new deals, the trip will also see business forums banding Turkish and local business people together in each country in a bid to cultivate relationships and agreements.
It also comes ahead of two major events – the Turkey-Africa Business Summit later this month and the third Turkey-Africa Summit in December – that the Turkish government has been preparing for.
Erdogan’s first stop will be in Angola, a country undergoing major political and economic transformation after almost four decades of Jose Eduardo dos Santos’s rule.
President Joao Lourenco, who visited Turkey three months ago, has been looking for ambitious actors to help diversify the heavily oil-reliant economy.
Alp Ay, Turkey’s ambassador to Angola, believes Ankara can be part of the country’s transformation.