Distinguished ministers, diplomats, media representatives, academics, businessmen, representatives from chambers of commerce, executives and all attendees.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We are pleased to meet all of you today at the conference.
The East Africa Development Forum is first of its kind kind organized by East Africa Association for Research and Development. This year`s theme is `Turkish-Somali Partnership: Stepping Forward`. This forum aims:
1- To strengthen the co-operation within civil society organizations in Turkey and East Africa in general, as any fruitful cooperation requires the setting of clear policies in order to guarantee a sustainable outcome.
2- To facilitate the integration within the East African societies, which currently suffer from instabilities and severe underdevelopment. The Institution supports efforts on all fronts by state and civil society actor to bridge this gap and overcome the tragic legacy of the past decades.
3- To support trade and investment between Turkey and East Africa through the utilization of available expertise in academia and research centers to shed light on the strength of each of our nations and identify the obstacles and risks that are exacerbated by scarcity of knowledge and exhaustive bureaucracy.
4- To contribute in building effective relations between the Turkish and East African diaspora in western countries. It is worth noting that Somali diaspora is heavily represented in Europe, North America and Australia. Connecting the two communities and strengthening their ties should be a major issue of concern that is to be invested in.
5- To put all effort in helping thousands of the African students in Turkey and assisting them throughout their quest of attaining knowledge at Turkish Institutions before going back to their homelands while being more equipped in leading their nations and contributing to the development of fruitful relations between Turkey and East African countries.
6- To provide assistance to the growing East African community in Turkey.
What is the objective of this conference:
First- To shed light on the different fields of co-operation between Turkish and Somali Institutions and work on a strategy to diversify and broaden such co-operation.
Second- to start dialogue through which experts, thinkers and academic institutions, and businesses exchange ideas through, thus contributing to the much-needed development efforts in various sectors.
Third- to ramp up all possible initiatives to facilitate the exploration of future outlooks for Turkey and Somalia within the context of Turkish-African relation which went through major milestones in trade, policy and culture.
And last but not least, it is important to underpin the historic ties between Somalia and Turkey that has never gone inexistent even through the game-changing geopolitical developments In the last century. The visit of the current president and the then prime minister Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Somalia in 2011 represented a turning point in the relations of Turkey and Somalia. This revival of those historic ties necessitates the to bring the issue into focus and invest in its development and growth to the highest level in the best interest of the two parties.
Wa Salamu Alaikum