The Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), in collaboration with Export Credit Bank of Turkey (Türk Eximbank), held a Japan-Turkey Business Matching Seminar on June 18, 2019 in Istanbul where many Japanese companies operate. This seminar was supported by multiple organizations including the Foreign Economic Relations Board of Turkey (DEIK), the Turkish Contractors Association (TCA), Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) and the Istanbul Japan Community. The seminar attracted about 130 officials and people, who particularly engage at a working level in the government and their agencies, financial institutions, Turkish and Japanese companies.
The purposes of this seminar are to:
i) Enhance cooperation between Japanese and Turkish companies not only in Turkey but also in third countries, particularly those in Africa through a business matching seminar where the successful examples of business cooperation between those companies are presented, and
ii) Introduce the business activities of JBIC and Türk Eximbank and examples of assistance provided by both institutions, as well as encourage Japanese and Turkish companies to use both institutions when they cooperate.
In March, 2018, to promote Japanese companies to expand into Africa, JBIC signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU)*1 with Türk Eximbank for cooperation in supporting Japanese and Turkish companies in collaborating in third countries. This seminar was conducted as part of joint efforts made by both institutions based on the MOU.
The first half of the seminar was dedicated to the keynote speeches by participants which highlighted examples of projects where Japanese companies worked with Turkish companies both in Turkey and third countries. The second half of the seminar was a networking reception aimed at increasing exchange among participants from Japan and Turkey. They proactively discussed their business with each other and exchanged their opinions and views for many hours.
The seminar started with the opening remarks by Masayuki Tanimoto, JBIC's Resident Executive Officer, Regional Head for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. In his remarks, Tanimoto noted that 2019 is "the Year of Turkey in Japan" and that JBIC will make an active commitment on support for infrastructure projects in third countries, especially Africa where Japanese companies can work with Turkish companies. He also expressed his expectation that this seminar would accelerate efforts to promote infrastructure projects in Africa.
Mr. Serif Tosyali, Chairman of the Turkey-Japan Business Council in the DEIK, told that Japan and Turkey's investment appetite for African business is high, referring to the total amount of investment in Africa made by the two countries in recent years. He also stated that Turkey, based on its partnership with Japan, is interested in promoting investment in a wide range of sectors, especially IT, energy, infrastructure and automotive industries. In addition, he announced that the 25th Japan-Turkey Joint Business Committee will be held in Tokyo on November 1 this year.
Mr. Burak Talu, Vice President of the TCA, explained that Turkish construction companies had implemented 1,393 projects, totaling USD67.6 billion, in 41 countries in Africa since 1972. He also highlighted various projects where Japanese companies cooperate with Turkish companies, including: domestic projects in Turkey such as the Ikitelli Hospital PPP Project, Izmit Bay Crossing Bridge and the Marmaray Project, as well as projects in third countries such as Astana International Airport in Kazakhstan, an aircraft hangar in Djibouti and an ammonia and urea fertilizer plant in Turkmenistan.
Mr. Inada, Chairman of the Istanbul Japan Community (also head of Turkish office of Mitsubishi Corporation), explained that Mitsubishi has had business partnerships with Turkish companies in various sectors for more than 60 years since the establishment of its Turkish office in 1954. His presentation continued on to explain that Turkish companies in the infrastructure sector are outstanding in terms of their abilities to build infrastructure, make swift business decisions and expand abroad. He also told that Japanese and Turkish companies would be able to gain a high competitive edge by combining the strong aspects of Turkish companies, as described above, with the technological and financial capabilities of Japanese companies, as well as their knowledge, experience and brand power. There were many other participants who also expressed their expectations for the strengthening of Japan-Turkey relations and for projects in Africa where Japanese companies can cooperate with Turkish companies.
Turkey has traditionally been a pro-Japanese country. With a population of approximately 80 million people and many young workers, the country is located in a geopolitically important position connecting Europe, the Middle East, central Asia and the Caucasus region. Capitalizing on its geographical advantage, the Turkish government has made effort to expand export to and investment in Africa since 2002, such as by increasing the number of its embassies in the region and that of regular flights operated by Turkish Airlines to African region.
The seventh Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD7) is scheduled to be held in Yokohama in August this year. It is expected to encourage Japanese companies to further enter the African market by promoting collaboration with countries with a strong presence in Africa, such as Turkey. This effort would also lead to further strengthening of economic ties between Japan and Africa.
As Japan's policy-based financial institution, JBIC will continue to support export to Africa and create more business opportunities for Japanese companies in the region, through dialogs with Türk Eximbank to develop and promote specific projects.
See Press Release on March 13, 2018