The East Africa Development Forum was held in Istanbul, Turkey under the Theme “Turkish-Somali partnership: A stepping forward on 1-2 December 2018. The forum was co-organized by the East Africa Association for Research and Development (DAD) and the Center for Policy, Economic and Social Studies (SETA). The conference was officially opened by Minister of Planning, Investment, Economic and Development of the Somali Federal Government, H.E. Ambassador Jamal Mohamed Hassan, while the State Minister of the Office of the Prime Minister closed the forum.
The conference was attended by Somali government officials and diplomats from the Somali embassy in Turkey with the lead of Somali Ambassador Jama Abdullahi Mohamed, Turkish and Somali universities academicians and research institutions, as well as intellectual and representatives from civil society organizations of the two countries.
Research papers were presented on Turkish-Somali relations and the possibilities of further development in these areas. Participants have also actively participated in the discussions and provided valuable recommendations. All participants underlined the importance of strengthening the historic ties between Somalia and Turkey. In 2011, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan paid a visit to Somalia in what was considered a historic revival of the relations of the two countries. Since that historic visit, the warm ties between the two countries have grown in different areas, economically, politically, and socially.
In order to strengthen the collaboration between the two countries, the following are to be considered:
§ To strengthen the co-operation across different sectors, particularly education, research, culture, media, commerce and investment, health and environment, agriculture, livestock and fisheries, with a focus on cooperation based on clear policies and efficient strategies to secure the sustainability of such cooperation.
§ To support the trade between Turkey and Somalia, the Somali minister of investment, planning and economic development stated that his ministry had already started the necessary steps to minimize bilateral trade between Turkey and Somalia.
§ To strengthen the collaboration between Turkish and Somali universities in areas of higher education and research. East African universities should learn from their Turkish counterparts and vice-versa.
§ To start a dialogue between experts, intellectuals, academic institutions and business communities in order to facilitate the development across different sectors and prepare studies to establish the necessary atmosphere for the partnership between the two countries.
§ To put all effort in helping Somali students in Turkey and assisting them throughout their school years at Turkish Institutions before going back to the country while being more equipped in leading their nations.
§ To strengthen the co-operation within civil society organizations in Turkey and Somalia. To contribute to building effective relations between the Turkish and Somali diasporas. To support the researchers to study the shared history of Turkish and Somali people with a focus on numerous archived documents on that topic.
Finally, the participants of the East African Development and Research Forum have praised the conference and stressed the need to hold it routinely. While the organizers thanked the Forum’s attendees.