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At TRT World Forum 2022, Pres. Erdogan assures Africa of grain shipments to ease food shortages

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Alkasim Abdulkadir in Istanbul

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has restated his commitment to African countries currently facing food shortages as a result of the Russia/Ukraine crisis he made the assurance in his opening remarks at the just concluded TRT World Forum 2022. The event organized by TRT had as its theme “Mapping the Future: Uncertainties, Realities and Opportunities” It held in the Turkish city of Istanbul on Dec. 9-10, the well-attended event had 100 international speakers from 40 countries participating in the 2 day forum where contemporary global issues were given critical attention.

Picture courtesy Anadolu News Agency. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey at the Opening Ceremony of TRT World Forum 2022.

Some of the issues on the top burner ranged from global cooperation and diplomacy leadership, peace and security, food security, energy crisis, climate change, migration, Islamophobia, media in conflict and digitalization and disinformation. The event had 22 sessions and expert round tables spanning 2 days.

President Erdogan listed the food crisis that happened this year as leading to instabilities in the global market and as one critical area that Turkey was most concerned about. He said that different countries felt the negative ramifications of the food crisis, starting with some African and Asian countries,

“In the grain deal, we have also witnessed the leadership of Türkiye.” He added

Following the speech, the Director General of TRT, Mehmet Zahid Sobacı, presented Erdoğan with a gift representing the “Grain Corridor Deal” signed under the leadership of President Erdoğan, which provides a solution to the global food crisis.

In July, Türkiye, Russia, and Ukraine signed an UN-backed landmark agreement in Istanbul to resume grain exports from three Ukrainian Black Sea ports, which had been paused in February due to Russia’s armed conflict with Ukraine. Days before its scheduled expiration, the landmark grain deal was extended for another 120 days, beginning on November 19.

It will be recalled that the absence of grain exports to the countries most in need and import-dependent has escalated food insecurity in places like Egypt, Madagascar, Djibouti, Burundi, Mauritania, Togo, Cameroon, Senegal, Rwanda, Congo, Libya, Tanzania, and Namibia whom all depend on grains from the region.

Ministers and government officials from Nigeria, and Rwanda, alongside several African academics and scholars in Turkey, also attended the event. Erdogan said the exchange of ideas is what makes such an event important, adding that the threshold of success of the TRT World Forum is “getting higher and higher”. 

“I welcome our guests from 34-plus countries. Welcome to our beautiful Istanbul,” Erdogan said. “I hope the TRT World Forum 2022 will bring many achievements.”

Editor-in-Chief Alkasim Abdulkadir is a 2022 YTP Katip Fellow at the Ankara Haci Bayram Veli University in Ankara, Turkey.

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