Head of Turkish Contractors Association, Mithat Yenigun has urged Turkish construction firms to take advantage of the big potential of a partnership with Chinese firms in Africa.
In an interview with Reuters, Yenigun claimed that Chinese firms are eyeing partnerships with Turkish construction firms in Africa. He said they are also looking to take stakes in Turkish companies.
“They asked if we could sell stakes or cooperate. They want to partner up with us, they are very willing to work with us. They also have unlimited money. That is what we lack,” Yenigun told Reuters.
As the Turkish economy entered into a recession, the construction sector, which is the locomotive of the economy in Turkey, suffered in the highly competitive market.
Turkish Lira’s losses against foreign currency have had a destructive impact on the sector, as the contractors took out loans from abroad and struggled to pay their increasing debt.
According to Engineering News Record (ENR), Turkish contractors are second only to Chinese companies in terms of international contracts. Yenigun mentions that Chinese firms had a 10 to 15-year head start in Africa and they now see Turkish firms as potential rivals.
He commented that Turkish contractors have an advantage in Sub-Saharan Africa as Turkish firms employ local workers during construction and have completed many projects in the region.
In 2018, Turkish contractors registered $19.4 billion of work abroad, with Russia accounting for 25% of those projects and Saudi Arabia another 19%, Reuters reported.
The war in Libya and Iraq had a huge negative impact on Turkish construction firms’ business in these countries and Turkey also struggle to take tenders in Saudi Arabia as the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, in the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul last year, deteriorated relations between Ankara and Riyadh.