Is France irked by Erdogan’s passion for Africa?

But is Turkey’s Africa strategy really hindering France? 

True, France has lost economic ground to China and India, which have stormed into Africa in recent years, as well as to Spain, which stands out among Western powers trying to counter the Chinese and Indian thrusts, and even to Britain, another former colonial power. In 2017, the French share of exports to the African market fell to 5.5% from 11% in 2000, while that of China increased to 18% from 3% in the same period. 

Still, one could hardly argue that a French decline is underway in Africa due to Turkish strides. 

France’s exports to Africa were worth $28 billion in 2018. Among European nations, Germany was the second biggest exporter to Africa with $25.4 billion, followed by Spain with $21 billion and Italy with $19.9 billion. French imports from Africa, meanwhile, amounted to $27.5 billion. In sum, France’s trade volume with the continent totaled $55.5 billion.

During his Africa tour, Erdogan said Turkey’s trade volume with Africa had reached $26 billion, increasing 381% over the past 17 years, with Turkish exports accounting for $16 billion. The target is to reach $50 billion in mutual trade, he said, reiterating the figure he had mentioned in Gabon in 2015.
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