Bridging Ghana’s trade imbalance with Turkey is my primary focus – Ambassador Ashietey-Odunton

Francisca Ashietey-Odunton, Ghana’s chief envoy to Turkey, says her main objective is to redress the one-sidedness of trade between the two nations

Ghana’s ambassador to Turkey, Her Excellency Francisca Ashietey-Odunton, says her primary focus during her current tour of duty is to find strategic ways by which she can sell Ghanaian businesses to buyers in Turkey to bridge the current trade imbalance between the two countries.

In 2019 alone, Ghana imported goods and services from Turkey to the tune of US$467 million. Ghana in return exported goods and services worth approximately $102 million.

The $300 million-plus trade imbalance between the two countries is remarkable only for its size, in the last non-COVID-affected trading year, but the discrepancy is one of long standing.

Her Excellency Ashietey-Odunton and the head of trade at Ghana’s mission to Turkey, Osei Bonsu, at the Forum


Ready for business

Speaking exclusively to Asaase News’s Wilberforce Asare on the sidelines of the Third Turkey-Africa Business and Economic Forum in Istanbul, Ambassador Ashietey-Odunton said the trade section of Ghana’s mission in Turkey will be equal to the task.

“We are ready to do business with Turkey,” she declared.

“It looks like Turkey is now the business destination of the world. So what Ghana is doing is, we are encouraging [Turkish businesses] to come to Ghana, because not only does Ghana have the natural resources, we also have the human resources and we also have the laws in place to ensure that everything is done.

“Although Ghana and Turkey have active trade relations, there is an imbalance. Ghana imports more from Turkey and exports very little to Turkey. This … needs to be addressed,” she said.

On the immediate steps she is taking to address the trade gap, Ashietey-Odunton explained, “For starters, what we are doing with the trade section is to try and organise trade visits of Turkish businesses to Ghana to see what benefits there are for themselves – so they know that they can comfortably come and invest in Ghana and there will be no problem.

“So, as a first step, we are organising trade visits back home,” she said.

African delegations

Ghana is among 45 African countries participating in the two-day Turkey-Africa Economic Forum, which is running in the Turkish capital, Istanbul, until 22 October 2021.

The deputy trade and industry minister and MP for New Juaben South, Michael Okyere Baafi, is leading Ghana’s delegation to the Forum.

African captains of industry, some heads of government and officials of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) are participating in the event, as are trade and industry ministers from many African nations.


The Forum is aiming to promote Turkish-African cross-investment by analysing trade and economic relations between Africa and Turkey.

It also aims to highlight the expectations engendered by the African Union’s Agenda 2063 as a programme for social, economic and political transformation that will make Africa a prosperous, united and economically independent continent.

According to an official communication from the Turkish government, the four main objectives the Forum aims to achieve by the end of the two-day engagement are: first, raising awareness in Turkish/African business circles of investment and business opportunities in Africa and Turkey.

Second, the Forum aims to raise awareness of the AfCFTA and its implications for the public and private sectors alike.

Third is identifying possible future directions for a Turkey-Africa partnership in the trade, investment, technology and logistics nexus. Lastly, the Forum wishes to channel the private sector in both Turkey and African countries towards commercial, industrial and technological partnerships.

The fourth aim will foster increased contact between business actors from Turkey and African countries as well as strengthen the dialogue platform with African regional economic communities.

Wilberforce Asare

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