Türkiye Develops A Historical Approach In Favour Of Humanitarian Diplomacy In Africa

Making up 16 percent of the world population with its 1.4 billion citizens, Africa stands out with its rich natural resources, fertile lands, and manpower. According to the figures for 2021, the region, which has a share of 2.8 percent of the world economy with a national income of $2.6 trillion, is a developing region. With an economy of $6.9 trillion in purchasing power, Africa is on the path to strong economic growth. While the region that has a 2.5 percent share in international trade with a foreign trade volume of $1 trillion exports unprocessed products, the manufacturing industry stands out in imported commodities. Contributing $4.94 trillion to the total assets created in the world, the continent has a share of 1.2 percent. Being at a lower level compared to other regions, the assets indicate that the potential of the region has not been adequately utilized. Having great potential in terms of underground resources, the continent has trillions of dollars of mineral reserves. Dynamic population, underutilized production infrastructure, and natural resources are among the most important resources of the region.

Africa, where developed countries hesitate to invest due to political instability, corruption, and underdevelopment, has drawn the attention of many actors. Countries such as China, Japan, Türkiye, India, Brazil, and South Korea can be given as examples to current actors.


Having nearly 90 percent of platinum and chromium, 40 percent of gold, 30 percent of mineral, 12 percent of natural gas and oil reserves of the world, Africa also has serious potential in arable agricultural lands. However, it is also known that there is an annual loss of $195 billion due to incorrect policies and practices throughout the region. The total investment stock of $1 trillion in the continent is also concentrated on natural resources. The availability of technology transfer, human resource development, and financial transfer opportunities required by the region seems to be limited. As actors such as China, the USA, and the EU benefit from the continent’s natural resources, a relationship of unilateral dependency is developing. The involvement of different actors is required for the development of the continent benefiting from low costs, natural resources, and human resources. In this respect, Japan, South Korea, and Türkiye are developing cooperation for the development of the region.

Examining the countries investing in Africa in general, we see that the Netherlands ($67 billion), England ($66 billion), France ($65 billion), USA ($43 billion), Singapore ($20 billion), Switzerland ($15 billion), Germany ($13 billion), and Türkiye ($10 billion) stand out. Contrary to the limited amount of investments of other countries, it is seen that the country with the highest investment in the region is China ($370 billion). It is known that the country also provided $155 billion of loans throughout the continent, completed projects worth $541 billion, and provided $35 billion of aid. It is possible to emphasize that Africa is a competitive area and many actors are active in the region politically, economically, and culturally.On the other hand, reducing dependency, prioritizing the development of the continent, offering technology transfer, and prioritizing human development, Türkiye stands out as an actor with political priorities that distinguish it from other actors.


Türkiye’s Africa policy is based on strategic foundations that develop bilateral relations, focus on mutual gains, increase foreign trade and investments, and prioritize the development of the continent. Africa, where a political, diplomatic, and economic breakthrough started in the first quarter of the 21st century compared to the previous century, has become one of Türkiye’s significant partners. Having opened embassies in almost every country of the continent, Ankara has invested $10 billion for the development of the region. Furthermore, Turkish contractors have completed infrastructure and superstructure projects worth over $65 billion. While the foreign trade volume with the continent has increased to $25 billion, Turkish companies, aid, and public institutions provided significant assistance to the region. The establishment of water wells, hospitals, health centres, and schools across the continent by institutions such as TİKA, İHH, and Turkish Red Crescent indicates that Türkiye does not focus only on the economic dimension. Making up the vast majority of the 154 thousand foreign students who come to Türkiye on average annually, Africans contribute to a stronger foundation of bilateral relations. The $4 billion loan facility opened by Turkey for the African Development Bank (ADB) is another indicator of the importance given to the development of the region. In addition, Türkiye, which is a member of the ADB, does not hesitate to share its development experience with the countries in the region.

Economic priorities are not the only parameter in Türkiye-Africa relations like other actors. Ankara develops a historical approach in favour of the availability of essential needs, spreading democratic culture, reducing poverty, developing human resources, and increasing welfare, which are part of human development. While the US approaches the continent in terms of military, China in terms of economy, the EU in terms of security, strategy, and migration, Turkey takes a stance in favour of humanitarian diplomacy and comprehensive development. Those who are uncomfortable with Turkey’s Africa policy due to the relations left over from the former colonial period support the continuation of dependency.

As a result, Türkiye’s approach to Africa is based on humanitarian diplomatic principles that focus on the independence and development of the continent, eliminating the negative image and improving mutual relations.

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