TURKISH mayor of Meram district Fatma Toru in Konya city has pledged to facilitate twinning of her municipality with local authority in Zambia to strengthen the warm bilateral relations between the two countries.
Ms Toru, who is one of the first female mayors in civic leadership, said the four municipalities in the city are ready to form partnerships with Zambia and other African countries.
Ms Toru said this when Zambia’s chargé d’affaires to Turkey Bwalya Nondo paid a courtesy call on her at her office in the metropolitan district of Meram in Konya on Monday.
She assured Mr Nondo that her municipality would be happy to twin with an equivalent local authority in Zambia for best practices in areas such as waste management and city planning.
This is according to a statement issued by first press secretary at the Zambian mission in Turkey Jerry Munthali yesterday.
“Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is determined to strengthen relations with Zambia and other African countries on a mutually beneficial basis as opposed to colonisation,” she said.
Ms Toru said the four municipalities in Konya city have the capacity and experience, which they are willing to share with local authorities in Zambia.
She also pledged to facilitate an exchange programme in handicrafts to empower women.
And Mr Nondo commended Turkey for not attaching conditions to the development co-operation that it provides to Zambia and other African countries.
He said expanding to the frontiers of Africa is at the core of Turkey’s foreign policy on a win-win basis and commended the Turkish government for this disposition.
He said his visit to Konya was aimed at attracting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into Zambia by inviting reputable Turkish agro-processing and agriculture equipment-manufacturing companies to invest in Zambia.
He said Zambia is an ideal investment destination in Africa because the country has the right investment climate, political stability and appropriate incentives for investors.
He also said Zambia is strategically located at the centre of southern Africa and investors can take advantage of its position to export various products to the entire Southern African Development Community region.
“The Zambian mission in Ankara has been identifying and interacting with reputable Turkish agro-processing companies and agricultural equipment-manufacturing companies in an effort to attract them to invest in Zambia.
“Konya city is an agriculture and industrial hub located south of Ankara,” he said.
Mr Nondo, who also interacted with the 37-member assembly of the Meram full council, said he would be happy to see the municipalities in Konya network with those in Zambia to enhance relations between the two countries.