Plenary session at the Russia-Africa Summit held in Sochi, Russia 2019.
Photo: GovernmentZA/flickr

Russia is strengthening ties with Africa

Russia wants to strengthen its trading relationships with African countries. The first Russia-Africa summit in October 2019 was a further step taken by Russia to gain more influence on the African continent.

"I hope that relations between Russia and African nations will rise to a new level, which is in the interests of each participant in today’s summit," said Russia’s president Wladimir Putin upstream to the Russia-Africa summit. He repeatedly recalled the Soviet Union’s relationships with Africa and wants to lock into these again.

The summit took place on 23-24 October 2019 in Sochi, Russia. The Forum was attended by more than 3,000 delegates including more than forty African Heads of States, Ministers and representatives of the business community. It was co-chaired by Presidents Vladimir Putin of Russia and Abdel Fattah al-Sisi of Egypt. An economic forum was held on the summit’s sideline. 

The Forum presented a strategically important step towards creating favourable conditions for the development of trade and economic relations between Africa and the Russian Federation, according to African Union Commission (AUC). 

On the margins of the Summit, AUC signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) of cooperation with the Eurasian Economic Commission in political, security, economic, social, scientific, technical, humanitarian, cultural and other fields. 

This MoU seeks to open new prospects of cooperation between the Eurasian Economic Union and the African Union Member States in different areas, relying on the principles of mutual respect, transparency, mutually beneficial cooperation and equality, stated AUC. A second MoU was signed by AUC and the Russian Federation regarding African-Russian cooperation. 

Trading relations between Russia and Africa

The economic forum has resulted in hundreds of deals and agreements, the Russian website Russia Today (RT) reported.  According to the website, the total amount of agreements sealed valued more than 12 billion USD. 

Above all, Russia is also interested in the raw commodities on the African continent. The Russian news agency TASS details several agreements concluded regarding geological exploration and development: Rosatom obtained eight licenses to explore for uranium in Namibia, Rosneft, as member of a consortium, has begun offshore seismic exploration near Mozambique, Rosgeologiya signed memorandums of understanding with South Sudan, Rwanda and Equatorial Guinea to explore for hydrocarbons. Lukoil may participate in exploration and production projects in Nigeria.

Russian trade with Africa has tripled since 2010, according to RT. Especially Egypt, Algeria, Morocco, South Africa and Tunis are trading partners. Trade focuses mainly on exports of agricultural commodities, civilian nuclear technology and arms. Russia has agreements on military technical cooperation with more than thirty African countries which they supply with a wide range of military equipment.

Ines Lechner, Rural 21

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