Russian President Vladimir Putin stressed that the development and consolidation of mutually beneficial relations with African countries and their blocs are among Russia’s foreign policy priorities.
“We will soon witness a symbolic and unprecedented event where the city of Sochi will host the Russia-Africa summit on October 24, which will bring together leaders of African countries and heads of major regional blocs”, Putin said in an interview with the Russian news agency TASS.
“We will witness a symbolic and unprecedented event where the city of Sochi will host the Russia-Africa summit on October 24” – Vladimir Putin
Putin said the idea of organizing such an event had long been crystallized, but it was necessary to invest time and work to prepare a summit that is a starting point for the establishment of a fair partnership based on equal rights and mutual interest.
Putin predicted that the summit participants will submit proposals aimed at expanding bilateral relations between Russia and African countries, and to present their ideas on how to develop multilateral cooperation, noting that Russia will be informed of these ideas with interest, and will determine the extent of their feasibility during the current stage.
Vladimir Putin said Russia has plans to further strengthen its contacts with the African continent, discuss initiatives with its partners to arrange them and include them in the agenda of the summit, as well as identify mechanisms for implementing the agreements to be reached during the summit.
Russia has plans to further strengthen its contacts with the African continent
He expressed that the summit would be successful because all favorable conditions were met, with the level of Russian-African relations increasing, especially on international and regional issues, parliamentary relations and mutual trade, which are gradually increasing and diversity.
Russian President said that the African partners see and appreciate the constructive nature of Russia’s foreign policy, including towards the African continent. “We do not require our support and joint development projects put forward by any political or other conditions or the exclusive economic and trade privileges. The principle proposed by Africans themselves”, Putin said.
Regarding the volume of potential investments in Africa over the next five years, Putin pointed out that there are investment projects with Russia’s participation of billions of dollars, either in the pipeline or under implementation, and Russia and its companies have good resources, expecting the partners to provide stable and predictable conditions required to do business and mechanisms Protect investments and provide a suitable investment environment.
On Russia’s readiness to compete heavily in Africa and the dangers of protectionism, unfair competition or trade wars against Russia, Putin stressed that his country is ready to strive for cooperation with Africa, and it is important that this competition be civilized and develop in a legal course. It aims to cooperate with Africa to defend common economic interests and protect African partners from unilateral sanctions, including by reducing the role of the US dollar and moving to other currencies in our mutual accounts.
“Russia aims to cooperate with Africa to defend common economic interests and protect African partners from unilateral sanctions, including by reducing the role of the US dollar and moving to other currencies in our mutual accounts”
“Africans do not want to escalate the confrontation between the major countries on their continent, but prefer competition to replace cooperation in the face of acute challenges before them such as terrorism, drug trafficking, illegal immigration, poverty and infectious diseases”, he said, stressing that Russia is ready for such action. Its agenda is positive and forward-looking.
Russia will continue to provide financial support to African countries, but if in the past such decisions were often based on political considerations, they are now implemented within the framework of humanitarian support, he said. A 25-billion-dollar loan has been decided on the construction of four reactors for the El Dabaa nuclear power plant.
He explained that Russia is contributing to international programs to support Africa within the framework of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Food Program (WFP) of the United Nations. The International Civil Defense Organization, sometimes providing non-financial support, has since 258 truckloads been supplied to the WFP missions in Africa, another group of 75 trucks was finally sent.
“A 25-billion-dollar loan has been decided on the construction of four reactors for the El Dabaa nuclear power plant”- Putin
“The use of new financial mechanisms does not mean stopping loans at all. On the contrary, it broadens and develops the spectrum of development support mechanisms and helps establish mutually beneficial cooperation between Russia and African countries”, Putin said.
Regarding military cooperation with Africa, Putin said that Russia has agreements on technical military cooperation with more than 30 African countries, which provide it with many types of weapons and equipment, noting that often African countries initiate the development of such a partnership, given the importance of mastering Defending independence and sovereignty, including from terrorist and extremist groups, requires the additional impulse to cooperate with Russia, which has considerable experience in combating terrorism, including in Syria.
He pointed out that the African partners are actively participating in the technical forums and military exercises conducted by Russia, where they learn about promising models of Russian arms and military equipment and the experience of their use, noting to continue to contribute to the qualification of military cadres of African countries and participate in the training of African peacekeepers.
Russia has been implementing a project in Mozambique since October 2017. With WFP in Madagascar, there is a project to introduce modern microbial disinfection technologies and equipment at a total cost of $15 million.
He added that Russia is helping African friends in the development of health care because serious and infectious diseases do not recognize the borders. The global initiative to fight Malaria, explaining that his country’s involvement in combating poverty, serious diseases and other risks of a global scale and defying potential threats from a distance fully conforms to its national interests.
Cooperation in providing regional security remains an important element of Russia’s relations with African countries. It is no coincidence that the slogan of the summit is “for peace, security and development”. Without solving these problems, it is impossible to move forward.
He pointed out that the situation in many areas of Africa is unstable. There are ethnic conflicts and ongoing political, economic and social crises. The youth, armed forces and security services of many countries of the continent are unable to confront the extremists themselves and need concrete assistance, stressing the continuation of expanding contacts between the security services of Russia and African countries in the field of combating terrorism, criminal systems and trade in drugs, money laundering, illegal immigration and piracy.
Putin said the military and security personnel in Africa, including on a free and concessional basis, are being continuously trained, noting that more than 2.5 thousand members of the Russian Defense Ministry’s military educational institutions belonging to African countries have graduated.