Further confirmation that Turkish companies are keen on Africa and see it as a big part of their expansion plans.

In a Citi survey of over 1,400 financial executives in the Middle East and eastern Europe, most bosses were looking to expand to neighbouring or close countries. Not so Turkish business people – over a quarter are looking to Africa, ahead of their European expansion plans.

In comparison, businesses in Europe were mainly looking at other locations near to home, with the most likely expansion destination for the next two years being “other European country” for over 40 per cent of respondents from the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Russia.

Equally, Middle Eastern respondents were keenest on other Middle East locations, although with a little less conviction – around 20 per cent of respondents in UAE, Jordan and Bahrain picked “other Middle East country” or a specific country in the region for their top answer.

Turkey was the only country of origin that gave a significant nod to Africa – with 26 per cent. The next most popular was “Other European country”, scoring 18 per cent with Turkish respondents.

The findings echo the trend of Turkish expansion in Africa. According to the FT, the country’s exports to Africa, which were roughly $2bn in 2003, reached $13bn last year. This has been accompanied (or perhaps led) by a diplomatic push: in 2009, Turkey had 12 embassies across the continent; that number has since increased to 35.

The sectors looking most to grow internationally are manufacturers and consumer products. Nearly half (44 per cent) of Turkish companies looking overseas are manufacturers.

The Citi survey included companies in Bahrain, Czech Republic, Hungary, Jordan, Poland, Romania, Russia, Turkey and the UAE, with average annual revenues of $44m.

Related reading:
Turkey flexes economic muscle in Africa
, FT
Turkish Airlines experiences rapid expansion
, FT

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