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For over a decade now, I have been an avid actor within the Nigerian-Turkish space either as a former Cabinet Minister of Nigeria or now as a leader in the organised private sector in the country. Speaking on the relations between two great nations at the beginning of a new decade is an opportunity I am excited to exploit. The reason is simple. In the last decade, both nations appeared to have wasted a lot of useful opportunities in diverse ways . Now, therefore, is the time to reset the button.

And to start, I must draw attention to a well researched paper on how best to advance cooperation between the two countries. The Global Conflict for Civil Stabilisation, late in 2019 issued a Report titled “Fostering Turkish-Nigerian Strategic Cooperation” which comprehensively addressed various facets of Nigerian Turkish relations. I aligned myself with most of the suggestions in the Report.

Today Nigeria has a population of 200million and Turkey about 80million. The two countries are currently rediscovering their strategic autonomy after decades of subordinating their interests to the Pan-Africanism (in the case of Nigeria), and Euro-Atlantic order (in the case of Turkey). As the world faces a future in which great power competition will most likely be the key determinant of trends, states risk getting forced into rigid blocks led by the major global powers.

What A Turkish-Nigerian Strategic Partnership Should Look Like.
Turkey today is a major defence item producer, a major shipbuilding country, and an all round growing industrial power. Turkey needs secure energy supplies, particularly in oil and gas to avoid vulnerability to major powers in its vicinity (for example Iran and Russia). Turkish exporters also need a market for their goods.
Nigerian on the other hand requires massive amounts of infrastructural development in road and rail transport, power generation, transmission and distribution, health and education. In addition, Nigeria needs technological assistance, support, and skills development and transfer to develop a more skilled workforce, investments in developing its oil and gas sector particular in petroleum refining and gas liquefaction etc, the entire value chain.

The Nigerian Armed Forces requires access to modern weapons systems especially those relevant to the new war, asymmetric warfare, war among people, counter-insurgency campaigns, trans-border banditry and tactical support for internal security forces. These we can purchase from Turkey for immediate and strategic supplies when needed Which will however build a strategic relationship.

A Turkish-Nigerian Strategic Partnership should see both countries leveraging on each other’s strengths to fortify their own vulnerabilities and preserve their independence of action.

Economic Cooperation
Priority should be given at the highest levels of both governments to developing, negotiating, enacting and ratifying a mutually beneficial free trade agreement between Nigeria and Turkey, along with a strategic economic cooperation framework. Under a strategic partnership, the DEIK led Turkish- Nigeria Business Council as well as the Nigeria-Turkish Business Council has to work assiduously to creating continuous links between Turkish industry, exporters and investors, and their Nigerian counterparts, through organising regular exhibitions, Expos, Trade Fairs, B2B and matchmaking for Turkish concerns in Nigeria, sponsoring and organising tours of Turkey and Turkish industrial concerns for Nigerian industrialists, exporters, investors etc, cooperating with Turkish and Nigerian Trade officials to organise tours of Nigeria for Turkish business people, and organising regular fairs and exhibitions for Nigerian products and producers in Turkey.

Also, the DEIK, TNBC, the Turkish Central Bank, and the Turkish Export Credit Bank, should work with NACCIMA, NTBC, Nigerian Central Bank and the Nigerian Export-Import Bank, and the organised private sector to create and foster the necessary financial instruments for large scale Turkish investment in Nigeria and vice versa.

Nigeria has a large and growing need for steel, aluminum and glass, but with a very weak steel and metallurgy industrial base and production capacity that cannot meet its needs despite significant potential for expansion. We can work together with the Turkish Export Credit Bank and the Nigerian Export Import Bank, to create the financial instruments for producers to invest in joint ventures with private Nigerian steel and cement concerns that will fill up the massive gap between what Nigeria needs and what Nigeria currently produces. 

Nigeria has an absolute advantage in the aspect of large and cheap labour pool which Turkish Manufacturers could tap into in other to scale up manufacturing of Turkish consumer brands for the Nigerian market and the larger West and Central African market. And we suggest that Turkish exports to Nigeria should be more of designs, parts and industrial production machinery, and less of finished goods, which will integrate Turkish and Nigerian production systems to a great degree.
To kickstart strategic industrial cooperation between Nigeria and Turkey, the Business Councils (and both governments) could provide technical support to the Nigerian government in revising current trade, investment, technology transfer, intellectual property protection laws, regulations and statutes, and in updating them or drafting new ones where necessary.

Infrastructural Cooperation
Turkey possesses a plethora of construction companies with experience in large-scale infrastructural projects. Nigeria has a massive infrastructural deficit in road and rail transport, water, electricity generation, transmission and distribution, seaports etc. We must design a framework through which Turkish investment financing, or Turkish based investment vehicles can fund infrastructural projects across Nigeria, with Turkish construction companies providing the technical capacity and employing Nigerian labour. Also the Business Councils and DEIK could organise an infrastructural investment vehicles for Nigerian investors to put funding for infrastructural projects in Turkey.

Nigeria today has a housing deficit of more than 20million units, with only a hundred thousand units being built annually, which is inadequate to fill the gap, instead increasing the already gaping deficit. Turkey’s Public Housing Development Administration aka TOK working together with the Export Credit Bank of Turkey and MUSIAD, DEIK etc, the Independent Industrialists and Businessmen Association of Turkey[9], Nigeria’s Ministries of Trade and Investment and Power, Works and Housing Nigeria’s Federal Housing Authority(FHA), and the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria(FMBN), REDAN,  can develop a framework for TOKI, REDAN and FHA to work together to establish housing concessions across Nigeria in collaboration with Nigerian and Turkish private real estate developers.
FHA/TOKI housing concessions can then be funded by investment vehicles anchored by Turkey’s Export Credit Bank and the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria, providing credit- to Turkish and Nigerian real estate developers.
As part of the strategic partnership between Turkey and Nigeria, Turkish companies should be granted priority in concessions to build and operate new seaports in Nigeria, and the same level of priority should be extended by Turkey to Nigerian companies and consortiums seeking to do the same.
Such a model could also be used to provide the credit financing for implementing Turkish-Nigerian economic and industrial cooperation programmes. 

Cultural and Educational Cooperation.
As a majority Muslim country, Turkey through its Directorate of Religious Affairs or DIYANET, is well placed to help Nigeria research and put forward narratives that uplift the Islamic consciousness of its Muslim population while countering the nihilistic tendencies of Khariji/extremist groups. Cooperation between the Turkish DIYANET and Nigeria’s Jamaa’atu Nasril-Islam or JNI, and the National Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), should form a cornerstone of cultural cooperation in this regard. 

Also through the Turkish Scholarships Foundation, Turkey should provide annual scholarships to Nigerian students to study at the university and post graduate level in Turkey, particularly in science, technology, engineering and mathematics courses, in substantial numbers (at least 2,000 students per annum), particularly from less developed and more populous Northern Nigeria. 

Turkey should however invest in a programme to attract the large numbers of Nigerian students leaving Nigeria each year to study in the UK, US, Malaysia, Ghana, Ukraine and Canada. This programme if successful will see as many as 30,000 Nigerian students paying to study in Turkish universities as against the current number of below 3,000

Development Cooperation
The Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) has to engage with DTAC (Directorate Technical Corp) and other relevant educational and skill development bodies to support continuous training to Nigerian teachers, trainers and education administrators, while constructing schools, laboratories and libraries and providing Nigerian universities with technical equipment. 

TIKA could also partner with Nigeria’s Ministry of Interior, and Nigeria’s National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) in helping Nigeria develop and sustain improved humanitarian and emergency response capabilities as well as technical and material support in rebuilding infrastructure destroyed in the Boko Haram conflict in Northeast Nigeria etc.

TIKA could work with Nigerian non-governmental development organisations and civil society outfits, to develop the capacity of local NGOs to professionally operate in the sector. TIKA should also invest in training a pool of individual development workers in Nigeria. Also, TIKA should help Turkish NGOs match up with Nigerian NGOs in their field to foster greater people to people ties in the development sector.

Defence Cooperation 
I believe it was in 2011, that as Minister of Defence, I signed the Nigeria Turkish Defence Agreement. So I must add the aspect of defence cooperation.The Nigerian Armed Forces are currently focused on firstly defeat insurgent groups and stabilise the internal security of the country, and secondly projecting Nigerian power across the continent in support of political directives. These two priorities dictate that they need new platforms and logistics to develop new capabilities that they may not currently possess.  
Turkey under a strategic partnership framework, could create mechanism for development of a joint military industrial complex and the necessary skills acquisition that would benefit both countries.

I must not end this address without stating that the Nigerian private sector has set the stage for the actualisation of many of the above listed proposal. Specifically we have created mutually beneficial commercial and economic platform which our Turkish partners can easily key into.

This includes the National Livestock Transformation Plan which we know Turksih businessmen will be interested in. Nigeria has designed a private sector led livestock Masterplan. This covers the entire livestock value chain with huge potential for investment and good returns. We at the ACCI has operationalise the plan for partnership opportunities for potential investors.
Details of this will be shared with our Turkish partners.

After all said and done, I welcome you to Nigeria either as business partners or investors. The investment and business climates are gradually changing for the better and I also want to assure you that the Organised Private Sector and Government of Nigeria surely and desires to do good and profitable business with Turkey.

Thank you for your kind attention.
Cok tesekkur ederim.
Hepinze iyi seneler

Prince Adetokunbo Kayode, CON., SAN
Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry-Nigeria

[1] DEiK available at: www.deik.org.tr 
[2] Nigerian Ministry of Trade and Investment: www.fmti.gov.ng
[3] Turkish Central Bank:www.tcmb.gov.tr
[4] Turkish Export Credit Bank:www.eximbank.gov.tr
[5] Central Bank of Nigeria:www.cbn.gov.ng
[6] Nigerian Export-Import Bank:www.nexim.gov.ng
[7] Nigeria’s Housing Deficit: http://housingfinanceafrica.org/countries/nigeria/
https://www.thisdaylive.com/index.php/2018/12/19/nigeria-has-20m-housing-deficit-says-osinbajo/ [8] TOKI available at:www.toki.gov.tr [10] Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing of Nigeria:
[11] Federal Housing Authority (of Nigeria):www.fha.gov.ng
[12] Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria www.fmbn.gov.ng [13] DIYANET:www.diyanet.gov.tr
[14] Turkish Maarif Foundation: www.turkiyemaarif.org
[15] Data on Nigerian students studying abroad available here:
http://uis.unesco.org/en/uis-student-flow#slideoutmenu [16] TIKA available at: www.tika.gov.tr

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