Turkey’s exports to Libya rose 58% year-on-year in the first four months of 2021 to $826 million, said a top Turkish trade group on Saturday.
While Turkey’s overall exports were up 33.1% this January-April, this increase in Libya reached 58%, almost double the general average, said Murtaza Karanfil, chairman of the Turkey-Libya Council of the Foreign Economic Relations Board of Turkey (DEIK).
In April alone, Karanfil told Anadolu Agency that exports to Libya skyrocketed 228% to $263.3 million compared to the same period last year, showing that strong bilateral ties are clearly being reflected in trade.
“We know that the Turkish private sector is enthusiastic about completing missing projects and taking part in new projects in Libya,” he said, referring to work that had to be abandoned due years of turmoil in the North African country.
Libya has needs that have accumulated especially due to the situation over the last 10 years – since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi and the ensuing chaos – and need to be resolved quickly, he stressed.
With an interim government formed under a February peace deal, Libya has recently emerged from years of conflict to move towards elections this December.
“Our Turkish contractors have important duties in terms of both the infrastructure and superstructure for rebuilding of country,” said Karanfil.
Areas where Turkish investors could play a larger role in Libya in the coming years include energy, defense industry, food, recycling, and chemicals.
Although the country has a population of 6 million, a lot of products enter its market, and annual exports of $10 billion annually if the infrastructure is established is no dream, Karanfil said.
Saying that Turkish investors have a good command of the culture of doing business in Libya, he said Turkey enjoys an advantage in this regard.
“There is no security problem for Turks who want to do business in the country, and Turkish investors who serve are protected by Libyans.”
He also highlighted Libya is a gateway to the African continent through which Turkish business people can boost their exports to the continent in short order.
Noting that they are continuing initiatives to establish an international logistics base in Libya, he said:
“Our exports will be easily able to reach 53 African countries and a population of 1 billion from this logistics center.”
This base, which is in the financial evaluation stage, will be built entirely through local resources, he added.
*Writing by Aysu Bicer in Ankara
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