In a series of earlier posts I had noted Turkey's growing interest in forging relations with Africa. According to The Jamestown Foundation, Afro-Turkish relations are indeed an emerging force in South-South cooperation:
Turkish interest in Africa is underwritten by soaring bilateral trade: while Turkey's trade volume with the entire African continent was $5 billion in 2003, Gul noted that with government encouragement, Turkish-African trade had been increasing annually by double digit figures since 2004 and exceeded $12 billion last year, a figure that his government hoped to increase to $30 billion by 2010
According to the report, it appears that Turkey's approach to developing trade with African nations differs from that of China, or even the US. Unlike the macro-projects pursued by most Western donors (and China), Turkey is concentrated on lower profile development issues such as agriculture, which carries the promise of affecting positive change in the lives of many across the continent. The underperformance of the critical agriculture sector remains a major drag on Africa's development, and has been neglected by both donors and governments over the past two decades. Turkish assistance may prove to be precisely the boost the continent needs.