The economic crisis caused by global inflation has been posing serious problems for all world markets for more than a year.
The increase in oil prices, difficulties in finding raw materials and volatility in exchange rates have pushed countries to search for new financial and commercial solutions.
One of the quests for this way out is to increase international trade (export-import operations), thus ensuring the inflow of ‘hot’ money into countries. Many Asian, South American and European countries set themselves the goal of increasing exports significantly at the beginning of 2022. Turkey took a few steps ahead, reflecting its determined stance in the area of exports. Looking at the numerical data, we can see that Turkey’s global exports increased by 23 percent, as of the first four months of 2022 compared to the first four months of the previous year. As at April 2021 : $62 billion; as at April 2022 : $76 billion.
In this figure of $76 billion in the first four months of 2022, the African continent increased its share compared to 2021 and received a share of approximately 10 percent or $7.9 billion. Turkey’s exports to the African continent as at April 2021: $5.77 billion. Turkey’s exports to the African continent as at April 2022: $7.91 billion
Export growth difference is 38 percent for Africa. In order to compensate for the loss in trade volume experienced during the COVID-19 period, the Turkish government and export associations have made serious mobilisations since last year and have started to develop strategies for exports. In this respect, a brand new page has been opened in Turkey’s African trade relations.
Turkey’s trade volume with Botswana
As of the first four months of 2021, Turkey, which carried out only $508 000 of export operations to Botswana, managed to increase this figure to $2.5 million as of the first four months of 2022. The commercial business volume between the two countries increased by 390 percent in a year.
The main product groups in this export figure from Turkey to Botswana are machinery, electronic components, food products, iron and steel materials and air conditioning equipment. When we look at Botswana’s business volume with Turkey for the last five years, we see that the increase in 2022 is the highest ever. 12/2018: $1.50 million, 12/2019: $1,86 million, 12/2020 : $1,44 million, 12/2021: $1,49 million, 04/2022: $2,48 million.
One of the most important reasons for the increase in the volume of commerce between the two countries is exorbitant increases in product unit prices due to freight and energy costs in Asian countries. The years 2020 and 2021 have been very troublesome years for all world trade. Turkey-Africa trade was also adversely affected due to precautionary closures and unforeseen reasons.
Among the most significant basis for the increase in trade between Gaborone and Istanbul is the unacceptable climb in transportation fees of Asian ports to South African ports. Freight costs between Asian and African ports escalated from $3000 and $4000 to $14000 and $15000 per container. This created serious price challenges for Batswana buyers and pushed them to seek different sources. They have turned their trade routes to Turkey because although there has been an almost uncontrolled increase in freights originating from Turkey throughout 2021 and 2022, container prices have remained at a much more modest level.
In some Asian countries, as a result of the fourfold increase in coal and other energy source prices in the country, serious electricity losses are experienced in many regions. Consequently, factories have to pause their production. As a result, there are serious unit price jumps in Asian origin export products. When the exorbitant freight prices are added to these price increases, some Asian products seem to have lost their old market temporarily.
Although Turkish manufacturers seem to have stepped forward during this global challenging process, global and local inflation, currency fluctuations in the Turkish Lira and energy crisis in the country also put Turkish manufacturers in a very difficult period. As a result, Turkish professionals have identified Botswana and the South part of Africa as their target market. Although Turkey’s exports to Botswana seem to have made a significant leap in 2022, it should not be forgotten that the main share of the increase in exports is in machinery, which look like one-time purchases rather than continuous products.
However, the increase in demand for food products, iron and steel, electronics and air-conditioning equipment, which have experienced a significant increase compared to previous years, gives us a green light that trade volumes between the two countries will bounce to upper levels. Turkey has always been a very important and indispensable supplier for Botswana and the South African markets with its superior product quality, full system service and competitive prices. Considering Turkey’s recent export moves, it seems that we will see more Turkish-made products in Botswana in the near future.