Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov spoke about the prospects for Russian-African relations on the eve of his visits to a number of African countries. His article “Russia and Africa: a partnership looking to the future” was published on Friday, July 22, on the website of the Russian Foreign Ministry.
He stressed that Russia’s relations with African countries are based on time-tested “bonds of friendship and cooperation.” According to the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Russia has always sincerely supported the Africans in their struggle for liberation from colonial oppression.
“The development of a comprehensive partnership with African countries remains among the important priorities of Russia’s foreign policy. We are open to its further build-up — in line with the strategic decisions taken at the first Russia-Africa summit at the end of October 2019 in Sochi,” he wrote.
The Minister drew attention to the fact that Russia does not impose anything on anyone, but has great respect for the sovereignty of African states and their right to determine their own development paths.
Lavrov also recalled that despite the unprecedented pressure from the West, the Africans did not join the anti-Russian sanctions. He noted that Russia appreciates the balanced position of Africa regarding what is happening in Ukraine and around it.
According to the minister, countries are working to ensure uninterrupted logistics and establish systems of financial settlements protected from outside interference.
In addition, the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry pointed out that the task of bringing Russian and African economic operators to each other’s markets is also coming to the fore.
Lavrov also drew attention to the fact that the speculations of Western and Ukrainian propaganda about the “export of hunger” by Russia are absolutely groundless. He recalled that Russia would continue to conscientiously fulfill its obligations under international contracts in terms of export deliveries of food, fertilizers, energy carriers, and other vital goods for Africa.
“Russian-African relations — be they political, humanitarian or trade and investment — are of intrinsic value and do not depend on fluctuations in the international situation. I am glad that our African friends adhere to a similar understanding. Together we will only be stronger,” summed up the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry.
He expressed hope for further fruitful cooperation with foreign partners showing mutual readiness for this.
Earlier, on June 16, the Russia-Africa Business Dialogue was held, dedicated to the priorities of Russian-African cooperation in a changing world order. It was noted that in this difficult, critical time, the course towards a strategic partnership with Africa is being put forward among the priorities of Russia’s foreign policy. Lavrov’s address said that in the interests of the peoples, it is necessary to work together to preserve and expand mutually beneficial trade and investment ties in the new conditions.
On the same day, Sergei Glazyev, Minister for Integration and Macroeconomics of the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC), announced the need to build direct relations with partners from Africa.
Earlier, on June 3, Evgeny Smirnov, professor at the Department of World Economy and International Economic Relations at the State University of Management, told Izvestia that in connection with the new geopolitical context, Russia needs to increase its presence in Africa, not only unilaterally, but also within existing associations like BRICS.
Russian President Vladimir Putin at a meeting with the President of the African Union, the leader of Senegal Macky Sall on June 3, said that Russia would develop relations with the states of the continent. He stressed that Russia has always been on the side of Africa, supporting it in the fight against colonialism. In addition, the head of state noted an increase in trade by more than 34% in the first months of 2022.