As part of the 25th St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), one of the most interesting and promising sessions “Russia – Africa” was held.
The event, which has already become traditional, attracted delegations from the Central African Republic, Mali, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe and other countries of the continent, as well as representatives of interstate associations of the Black Continent.
The forum, designed to intensify international cooperation, made it possible to determine priority areas for interaction with African states. Key areas include food and energy security, innovation, financial transparency, and cooperation in education, health and culture.
The international editorial office of the Federal News Agency sums up the results of the Russia-Africa business dialogue and also talks about promising areas of cooperation.
On the same side in a hybrid war with the West
It’s no secret that pressing issues, including numerous sanctions against Russia and African countries, as well as the consequences of the pandemic and global climate problems, are common to the participants in the Russian-African dialogue. Sergei Glazyev, a representative of the Board for Integration and Macroeconomics of the Eurasian Economic Commission, spoke about this.
“Just like Africa, we are facing Western aggression. In the hybrid war launched by him, we are on the same side with the Black Continent. We have common problems and interests,” he stressed.
To overcome the emerging objective and subjective problems, it is necessary to continue and develop multi-vector cooperation. According to Igor Morozov, a member of the Committee on Economic Policy of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, in addition to business, the active participation of our country is necessary, including through relevant ministries.
Africa needs Russia’s support
Cooperation between Russia and Africa, which was much discussed on the sidelines of the forum, is nothing new. Most of the states of the continent work closely with Moscow and Russian business, therefore, to give momentum, it is only necessary to develop existing developments and create favorable conditions for this. This opinion was expressed by the President of the Commission of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) Gilberto da Piedade Verissimo.
“Russia’s ties with ECCAS members are nothing new. African countries are already cooperating with Moscow. Many of them need Russian support. Between 2016 and 2019, turnover doubled from $41 million to $80 million. Now Russia must strengthen its position.
Kinshasa will soon host the first Central African Maritime Conference. An invitation has been sent to Russia. We are waiting for the visit of entrepreneurs from the Russian Federation. Also in October 2022, a conference of ECCAS countries will be held,” he said.
Mutually beneficial and fruitful partnership
The Prime Minister of the Central African Republic, Felix Molua, spoke at the forum and even published a post on the Telegram channel of RIA Novosti.
As an example of Russian-African cooperation, he cited the interaction between Moscow and Bangui. He believes that it was the helping hand extended by the Russian partners that contributed to his country’s exit from the protracted crisis.
“Not a single republic should be left behind, all should move forward evenly. And Russia can help us in this. It is necessary to develop mechanisms that will lead us to prosperity,” Molua said.
The head of the Central African government also spoke about this in an interview with correspondents of the international editorial office of the FAN. He noted the help of the Russians in the field of security. Since 2019, an agreement has been in force between the countries, according to which instructors from the Russian Federation, referred to in the West as Wagner PMC employees, work in the republic. According to the prime minister, Russian specialists helped form the local army practically from scratch.
Russia is a friend and reliable ally. This statement was made at SPIEF by the Minister of Mining, Energy and Water Resources of Mali Lamine Seydou Traore. He thanked for the invitation and spoke about the current problems of the republic, which relate to industrial enterprises, energy and infrastructure.
“First of all, I would like to express my gratitude to the Russian Federation for its help and welcome Russia’s growth in the international arena. We want to develop a balanced, mutually beneficial partnership between our countries. Many specialists working in Mali were trained by Russia and the USSR. The training of military personnel is also important, but we want to expand the partnership and include the economy,” said the Malian minister.
The Russian specialists mentioned by Traore helped the local military to reform the army, which was left face to face with militant groups after the failure of the French Operation Barkhane and the UN multidisciplinary integrated mission (MINUSMA). The Russians, whom the Western press also classifies as Wagner PMCs, helped the Malian state withstand the pressure of radicals freely roaming the African desert.
Earlier, Foreign Minister of Mali Abdoulaye Diop said that the African country considers Russia a friendly state and would honor participation in an international event.
Strengthening and expanding productive interactions
Another African country has declared a clear intention to develop relations with Russia. The Minister of Industry and Trade of Zimbabwe, Sekai Irene Nzenza, said that she was counting on the arrival of new partners from the Russian Federation in order to work together for the benefit of the entire African continent.
“Our country is open for business – this is part of our agenda. Our land is rich in natural resources. We can develop tourism. Serious Russian companies work for us, for example, Alrosa. You can mine diamonds and other resources,” Nzenza said.
SPIEF is an important step towards strengthening cooperation between the countries, echoed the Ethiopian Ambassador to the Russian Federation, Alemayehu Tegenu Argau. He also noted the active work within the framework of the agreement on bilateral cooperation and announced the search for companies ready to invest in national projects.
Great potential and broad prospects
International cases that have already been launched or are awaiting implementation after the end of the forum are attracting more and more leaders from the African continent. The head of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP) Alexander Shokhin spoke about the dynamically developing relations of our country both with individual states of the Black Continent and with African unions.
In particular, we are talking about cooperation with Africa in the field of student education, which was announced during the speech by Natalia Bocharova, Deputy Minister of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation. With the support of a reliable partner, the Black Continent can become a new center of world development.
Russia has demonstrated that it is ready to provide all possible assistance to its partners who reciprocate. Having overcome the problems, some countries are already showing confident positive dynamics, although until recently they were on the verge of a catastrophe.