The Turkish secretary-general of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu, began a tour of African countries on Monday to strengthen cooperation among the African members of the 56-nation organization.
İhsanoğlu will be visiting Benin, Togo, Sierra Leone, Guinea-Bissau, Gambia, Senegal and Niger before wrapping up his visit on June 7. The visits take place at the invitation of the seven countries.
The tour, the third to Africa for İhsanoglu since he became secretary-general of the OIC in 2005, is aimed at exploring modalities for strengthening and deepening intra-OIC relations among the countries in Africa, according to a statement from the OIC. “It will also seek to promote solidarity and mobilize the member states to demonstrate the required political will to enhance joint actions and accelerate the realization of the new OIC mission and vision, particularly as it affects the issues of good governance, conflict resolution and peace building,” the statement said.
İhsanoğlu will also discuss with African leaders progress achieved in the implementation of the OIC's Ten-Year Program of Action and other programs aimed at helping socioeconomic transformation in the African member states of the OIC.
The OIC has several policy programs aimed at increasing trade among member states and poverty alleviation, among others.
“The visit will ultimately enable these countries to accelerate their accession to the various OIC instruments on trade facilitation, while taking advantage of the OIC programs for South-South cooperation for increased foreign direct investment, employment generation, youth and women empowerment, competitiveness, poverty eradication and infrastructure development,” the statement said.