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What’s driving Turkey’s commercial & military relations with Africa?

By Loza Seleshie
Posted on Tuesday, 11 January 2022 16:11

Nigerian President Buhari and Turkish President Erdogan hold a news conference in Abuja
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan hold a news conference in Abuja, Nigeria October 20, 2021. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde

What is driving President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s headlong charge into commercial and military relations with Africa?

Two key developments look set to define the Ankara government’s Africa policy this year: its decisive provision of armed drones to the federal side in Ethiopia’s civil war and to the G5 Sahel, and how Turkey’s deepening economic woes might constrain its diplomatic ambitions.

Turkey’s trade has grown considerably with Africa: from $5.4bn (2003) to $25.3bn (2020) along with its diplomatic network growing from 12 embassies in 2009 to 49 today, not to mention its African Union observer status since 2005.