Africans hail quality education, life in Turkey

Many Africans staying in Turkey commended quality education and a high standard of living in the country.

Up to 1.5 million Africans are living in Turkey, according to figures gathered from Ministry of Interior Directorate General of Migration Management, Head of Abroad Turks and Relatives Communities, Association of Researchers on Africa and Federation of International Student Associations or UDEF.

The figures show Muslims from northern African and Sub-Saharan African countries including Senegal, Mali, Niger, Ghana, Gambia, Ethiopia, and Somalia, mostly prefer to come to Turkey instead of going to any other country.

Most of them are fleeing civilian wars, terrorism and poverty.

Almost every province of Turkey hosts Africans; however, the data shows every fourth African in Turkey prefers to live in Istanbul, the country's business capital.

Majority of Africans are living in Fatih, Aksaray, Taksim and Zeytinburnu districts of Europe side of the city. Majority of them make their living by selling watches, perfumes, and souvenirs.

Students, academics, and businesspeople also prefer to come to Turkey after Ankara's Africa policy launched in 2005 that expanded the country's focus on the continent.

According to Africans living in Turkey, they got good jobs in their respective countries when they return after getting better education.

Abdulsemih Ali Osman, a Sudanese national who studied medicine at Istanbul University, stated that African students studying in Turkey start working as doctors, engineers or economists in their respective countries.

Praising Turkey's investments in Africa, he noted that Turkey, differently from the West, came to Africa not for exploitation but for establishing a unity and togetherness.

Yosuf Moseiv, a Ugandan studying in a Turkish university, said: "The good relation between Turkey and Africa is a pleasing development. I cannot compare Turkey with any other country."

Abdulmannan Sharif, an Ethiopian doing master of business administration in Istanbul, said that he came to Turkey on his friends' recommendation, citing the people's hospitality towards foreign students and quality education, which is also cheap.

"I've found what I expected," he said.

Sharif also said that he took part in the protests against July 15 defeated coup attempt last year.

Ali Farah, a Djiboutian who deals in foreign trade in Turkey, lauded the country's knowledge and experience sharing with Africa.

"For example, China does not share knowledge as it brings its workforce and factories. When Turkish investors come to Africa, they bring factories along with knowledge and experience."

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