Speaking to the GNA in an interview, he noted that Ghana could benefit from Turkey’s technology and innovation, saying that, although Turkey did not have a lot of natural resources, its economy, which is the 6th in Europe and 17th in the world, was driven by technology, industry and innovation.
“If we can also develop our industrial base and inculcate innovation into our system with the use of ICT, we can also get somewhere very soon in our industrial development,” he stated.
He noted that Ghana’s exports value to Turkey has increased significantly in the first quarter of 2015 to $56 million, as compared to $42 million in the same period in 2010.
After three successful trade fairs in Turkey and follow-up meetings in January, Ghana has, between January and August 2015, exported 11 forty-foot containers of fresh pineapples to Turkey, totaling about 96,000 Euros.
“Ghana had also gotten market access for charcoal briquettes (sawdust charcoal), the first container of which left Ghana about a month ago and also exported 10.4 tonnes of fresh coconuts worth about $7,500, to Turkey last month,” he stated.
There is also a high market demand in Turkey for Sesame seeds, Shea Butter and Cocoa products from Ghana.
Dr. Asiedu said although negotiations with Turkey for a Free Trade Agreement had stalled, Ghana could renegotiate the terms of the agreement, as it would help in the export of Ghana’s agricultural sector as their customs on agricultural products was very high.
Turkey has also begun negotiations with the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) for Bilateral Investment Treaty, which is yet to be concluded.
Ghana had also signed some Memoranda’s of Understanding with the Turkish government, following the visits of Turkey’s President Abdullah Gul, to Ghana in 2011 and President John Dramani Mahama’s subsequent visit to Turkey in 2013.
These include MoUs with Ghana Free Zones Board for the construction of Industrial Parks, between Ghana National Standards Authority and its Turkish counterpart- the Turkish Standards Institute for training and capacity building as well as exchange of ideas, and one between the Ghana National Board for Small Scale Industries and its Turkish counterpart-KOSGEP.
Ghana has received some assistance from Turkey over the years. The Turkish development Agency- TIKA, sponsored 14 midwives from across Ghana to Turkey to be trained in maternal health and also trained some Ghanaian diplomats. The agency also assisted in the renovation of the science resource centre at the Achimota School in Accra.
TIKA has also indicated its readiness to support Ghana in areas of tourism, industry, agriculture, forestry, fishing and transport.
Dr. Asiedu noted that, the Turkish EXIM Bank was also financing water improvement projects in Akim Oda, Akwatia and Winneba in Ghana, while the Turkish government also sponsored through scholarships, about 50 Ghanaian students annually to Turkey for studies in Turkish Universities at all levels.
Dr Asiedu called for effective follow-up on potential buyers identified during the fair in order to confirm orders for the products exhibited.
He explained that because such fairs did not afford the exhibitors enough time to have in-depth discussions with the potential buyers and investors who visit the stands during the fair, it was very important to do follow-up meetings.